What is ""Shinto""? It is a form of belief, original to Japan, that has been continuously handed down from ancient times. A belief which formed through the everyday life of farming and fishing and coexisting with nature, that sees Kami-sama, or ""god"", as the divine residing in mountains and rivers, trees and rocks and in all objects of nature. Each region throughout Japan has come to have their own Kami-sama to believe in.
Shintoism has no single, absolute ""God"" to praise, like that of many religions in the world. Neither is their any rule or preaching. However, the Japanese people see Kami-sama in the surrounding nature that supports their well-being, and offer prayers to it as a noble, or sacred being—hence the old saying of Japan being a ""land of innumerable gods."" Originally, the gods of Japan are the very objects you find in nature, or even beings that have no shape, but sometimes they are depicted in human form in mythology.
Insight on Shintoism from Florian Wiltschko
Born in 1987, in Linz, Austria.
From a very young age, Wiltschko took an interest in Japan and gained knowledge through reading. When he was 14, he came to Japan on a family vacation for the first time, and visited many Shrines and Temples, which raised his level of interest even more. In 2007, he entered the Ueno Tenmangu Shrine in Nagoya, and studied about Shinto priesthood while living there. Upon returning home, and graduating from Vienna University in Japanese Studies, he moved to Japan for good and entered Kokugakuin University and majored in Shinto Studies. After graduating from his special training in 2012, he was appointed "gon-negi" (lowest ranking priest) at the Konno Hachimangu Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo, fulfilling the position for 4 years. From May of 2016, he will continue his priesthood at Nobeno Shrine in Tsu City, Mie Prefecture.