The Asakusa Shrine decided on March 20th to cancel one of Japan’s largest festivals, the Sanja Matsuri (三社祭) in light of the terrible earthquake and disaster that has befallen Japan. According to the website, ” SANJA MATSURI, which is one of the Three Great Festivals of EDO (now Tokyo), is held on the third Saturday and Sunday every May by the Ujiko ( inhabitants of the neighbouring community) at Asakusa Shirne (previously called “SANJA Daigongen Shrine” ),sacred to the tutelary deity of the locality ,Asakusa. Although the festival seems to date from older times, the presentday from of the festival was established in the Edo period (1603-1868). The parade of the portable shrines is conducted primarily for the mutual amity of the Ujiko and he prosperity of the community but also enjoyed by people other than the Ujiko.”
It is the first time the festival has been cancelled since the end of WWII. The official announcement explains why in more detail, in Japanese.