These colorful nobori outside Tō-ji announce a bazaar being held within the grounds of the temple.
Nobori (幟?) is a Japanese banner. They are long, narrow flags, attached to a pole with a cross-rod to hold the fabric straight out and prevent it from furling around the rod; this way, the field is always visible and identifiable.
The nobori were significant on the battlefields of feudal Japan. The nobori of the time were used to denote units within an army; nobori became much more common in the Sengoku period, in use alongside the earlier hata-jirushi. Though usually used to represent different divisions within an army, nobori were sometimes made identical, so as to produce an impressive and intimidating display of warrior flags.
Today nobori are a common sight outside businesses, restaurants, and retail stores where they advertise a sale, a new product, and simply the name of the business. They are used during festivals and sports events; in sports they take the place of the banners and signs common among Western audiences. They are also used to make commercial announcements, appeal for something, and identify a political party during an election campaign. The may also line the walkways or fences or walls of Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples and frequently bear the names of donors or deceased parishioners.