The information I had on this was that it was a Fertility Festival – I was expecting to find something with real meaning and traditional importance. I got up early to try to get there in time for the lighting of the sacred fires in the morning, but the trains were delayed due to typhoon-scale winds and it took me 2.5 hrs in total to arrive.
I arrived to find throngs of American tourists, sucking on phallic lollipops and milling about the stalls selling penis headbands, whistles, keychains and more.
It was in fact, a big dick day. There were old friendly Japanese women trying to get the tourists to join in a circle for what one Japanese guy translated to be a 'dick dance', and later there was a parade with men wearing short shirt robes and thong diapers, hoisting a few large penises down the street. Not quite the depth of feeling that I thought I might find. And not to mention the unfair emphasis on the glory of the schlong.
I found out afterwards that the early morning part of the festival was much more personal and moving, with the lighting of the ritual fires and couples in attendance seeking assistance for their fertility issues. The tourist swarm came later, I guess for the more light-hearted side of things.