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Traditionally, these icons were hidden from the view of practitioners, kept in closed inner sanctuaries of shrines, and venerated from the outside.

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      Shinto | History, Doctrines, Practices, & Facts |

      Indian Influences on Western Literature. The prayer for good harvest in spring and the harvest ceremony in autumn were two major festivals honouring the ujigami. Divination , water purification, and lustration ceremonial purification , which are all mentioned in the Japanese classics, became popular, and people started to build shrines for their kami.

      People found kami in nature, which ruled seas or mountains, as well as in outstanding men. They also believed in kami of ideas such as growth, creation, and judgment. Though each clan made the tutelary kami the core of its unity, such kami were not necessarily the ancestral deities of the clan. Sometimes kami of nature and kami of ideas were regarded as their tutelary kami.

      The other view was a two-dimensional one in which this world and the Perpetual Country Tokoyo, a utopian place far beyond the sea existed in horizontal order.

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      Though the three-dimensional view of the world which is also characteristic of North Siberian and Mongolian shamanistic culture became the representative view observed in Japanese myths, the two-dimensional view of the world which is also present in Southeast Asian culture was dominant among the populace. Confucianism , which originated in China, is believed to have reached Japan in the 5th century ce , and by the 7th century it had spread among the people, together with Daoism and yinyang harmony of two basic forces of nature philosophy.

      Myths of various clans were combined and reorganized into a pan-Japanese mythology with the Imperial Household as its centre. The kami of the Imperial Household and the tutelary kami of powerful clans became the kami of the whole nation and people, and offerings were made by the state every year. Such practices were systematized supposedly around the start of the Taika-era reforms in By the beginning of the 10th century, about 3, shrines throughout Japan were receiving state offerings.

      10a. Japanese Religion and Spirituality

      As the power of the central government declined, however, the system ceased to be effective, and after the 13th century only a limited number of important shrines continued to receive the Imperial offerings. Later, after the Meiji Restoration in , the old system was revived. Buddhism was officially introduced into Japan in ce and developed gradually. Help was therefore offered to kami in the form of Buddhist discipline.