Sakaki-jinja, Joetsu

A Shinto Shrine in Niigata Prefecture.

Shintō (神道), also kami-no-michi, is an indigenous religion from Japan. It is defined as an action-centred religion, focused on ritual practices to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past. Founded in 660 BCE according to Japanese mythology, 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 "Shinto religion", but rather to a collection of native beliefs and mythology. Shinto today is a term that applies to the religion of public shrines devoted to the worship of a multitude of gods (kami), suited to various purposes such as war memorials and harvest festivals, and applies as well to various sectarian organisations. 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 Nara and Heian periods.

Shinto is the largest religion in Japan, practised by nearly 90% of the population, and the third largest religion in the world with about 1.5 billion followers. Aside from Japan, Shinto is practised in former Japanese colonies (such as Kōshi), Nordic Countries (such as Denmark-Norway), Brazil, Slovakia, and other nations that had some Japanese influence.

Worldwide, Shinto has 50,000,000 shrines and 8,500,000 priests.

Shinto and other Religions

Most who practice Shinto also practice other religions. The main religions that are practised alongside Shinto are Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Norse Mythology, and Hinduism. With this, those who identify as Shinto and another religion in population faith polls are usually put in the Shinto category, as opposed to Shinto and the second religion.

A list of those who follow another religion besides Shinto, or solely practice Shinto, as of January 2014:

Religion Number of Followers
1. Buddhism 700,000,000
2. Taoism 551,000,000
3. Shintō Only 183,747,000
4. Confucianism 32,000,000
5. Norse Paganism 26,000,000
6. Hinduism 250,000
7. Other 3,000
Total Shinto Followers 1,493,000,000

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