Outline of Shintoism

Shinto (神道 Shintō or Shintoism or kami-no-michi) is the traditional religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past. Classified as an East Asian religion by scholars of religion, its practitioners often regard it as Japan’s indigenous religion and as a nature religion. Scholars sometimes call its practitioners Shintoists, although adherents rarely use that term themselves. There is no central authority in control of the movement and much diversity exists among practitioners.

Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written historical records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century. Still, these earliest Japanese writings do not refer to a unified religion, but rather to a collection of native beliefs and mythology. Shinto today is the religion of public shrines devoted to the worship of a multitude of “spirits“, “essences” (kami), suited to various purposes such as war memorials and harvest festivals, and applies as well to various sectarian organizations. Practitioners express their diverse beliefs through a standard language and practice, adopting a similar style in dress and ritual, dating from around the time of the Naraand Heian periods (8th–12th centuries).

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Miyajima Island, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. This shrine is believed to be where the kami dwell, and hosts many ceremonies and festivals.

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Miyajima Island, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. This shrine is believed to be where the kami dwell, and hosts many ceremonies and festivals.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Shintoism:

Common Concepts in East Asian Religions

A miko (woman consecrated to a Shinto deity) at Inari Shrine.

Articles on Shintoism

Religions in Japan

Religion of Japan

Shinto Texts

Shinto beliefs and the theories

Shinto Deities

Shinto practices

Variations of Shinto

Shinto culture

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