Mountain Gods and Businessmen opens on a mountain cult ceremony, where the participants walk on burning coals. Back in their sacred mountain hideaway the cultists undergo a secret training, with bizarre rituals and surprising revelations. Once the training is over, fall harvest in the surrounding village goes into full swing. The Basketman, a flamboyant and quirky character, does a thriving business with little more than a basket, rope, and rice paste. Further down the ancient Nakasendo highway, a potter spends six grueling days firing his traditional wood-burning kiln. On the other side of Japan, a million daily commuters plunge into Osaka's subway system each morning. Many of them stay until well past midnight and have to fight their way aboard the notorious last train. Those who don't make it often end up at a pachinko parlor and then crawl into a coffin-sized room at a capsule hotel. Osaka is filled with colorful characters, including Adam Cooley, a painfully shy American who makes his living as a street performer. The nearby Ebisu festival celebrates wealth and money, but right around the corner the homeless - like Nishida-san - are struggling to make ends meet. He collects aluminum cans for a living and eats at volunteer kitchens whenever he can. In an attempt to better their lives, the homeless organize a tense march against the government, to lay flowers at the murder site of one of their own.