For many people, the religion Japanese Shinto is a real mystery. Like many other religions, Shinto is actually a collection of groups with different beliefs and forms of worship. Unlike most religions, however, the number of groups is very small. There are actually only four main types of worship Shinto.
The four types are really very similar (which is another difference compared to many other major religions). In this religion, the existence of divinities or spiritual beings that can be found in nature or in other levels of existence is affirmed. Everyone who practices Shinto is taught to be aware of and respectful of the religious beliefs of others, and there are many people in Japan that they are able to practice both Shinto and Buddhism at the same time.
The most common type of worship is the Shinto Koshitsu. These rites are performed by the emperor as well as by members of the male and female clergy. The ritual of Niinamesai It is the most important of all the rituals performed by the emperor, since it focuses on giving thanks for all the prosperity that will be received during the year with the first fruits given by the harvests.
The next type of Shinto cult is the Shinto Jinja. This part focuses on building sanctuaries (called "Jinja") for the different gods and spirits (called "kami") of the earth and the world in general. Each temple has an individual history, and is built to honor and worship a Kami specific. Therefore the traditions of each area where a sanctuary is located are different from those of another sanctuary.
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