During the Buddhist summer festival of Obon (celebrated on different dates throughout Japan) the spirits of ancestors are believed to reunite with their families in their homes of origin. Families return home, clean ancestral graves, pray and dance the Bon-Odori.

Origin of the Bon Odori: Mokuren, a disciple of the Buddha, saw with supernatural powers that his dead mother was suffering in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. When, as the Buddha suggested, he made offerings to monks returning from their summer retreats, his mother was released. Mokuren then danced with joy for his mother and her unselfish love for him in the past.