Just the facts on religion.

Shinto Shinto fast facts and introduction

Adherents

3-4 million

Beliefs

kami: ancient gods or spirits

Practices

Worship and offerings to kami at shrines and at home. Purification rituals.

Texts

Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters); Nihon-gi (Chronicles of Japan)

Shinto (also Shintoism) is the term for the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of Japan. Shinto has no founder, no official sacred scriptures, and no fixed creeds, but it has preserved its main beliefs and rituals throughout the ages.

The word Shinto, which comes from the Chinese shin tao, meaning "the way of kami", came into use in order to distinguish indigenous Japanese beliefs from Buddhism, which had been introduced into Japan in the 6th century CE.

Shinto (together with Buddhism) is intimately tied to Japanese society and culture. Shinto's relationship with other religions in Japan are generally cooperative and harmonious. Shintoists insist on maintaining their own characteristics and inner depth while working toward the peaceful coexistence of human beings.

  • Glossary of Shinto

    Definitions of terms related to Shinto. full article →
  • Shinto Beliefs

    At the core of Shinto are beliefs in the mysterious creating and harmonizing power (musubi) of kami and in the truthful way (makoto) of kami... full article →
  • Shinto History

    Shinto has no founder or founding date. When the Japanese people and Japanese culture became aware of themselves, Shinto was already there. Yayoi culture, which originated in the northern area of the island of Kyushu around the 3rd or 2nd century BC, is directly related to later Japanese culture and Shinto... full article →
  • Shinto Holidays and Festivals

    Each Shinto shrine has several major festivals (matsuri) each year, including the Spring Festival (Haru Matsuri or Toshigoi-no-Matsuri), Autumn or Harvest Festival (Aki Matsuri, or Niiname-sai), an Annual Festival (Rei-sai), and the Divine Procession (Shinko-sai)... full article →
  • Shinto Practices

    Shinto ceremonies are designed to appeal to the kami for benevolent treatment and protection and consist of abstinence (imi), offerings, prayers and purification (harae)... full article →
  • Shinto Texts

    Shinto does not have any philosophical literature or official scripture that can be compared to texts like the Bible or the Qur'an. But the Kojiki(Records of Ancient Matters) and the Nihongior Nihon shoki (Chronicles of Japan), are in a sense the sacred books of Shinto... full article →
  • Timeline of Shinto

    The history of Shinto at a glance. full article →