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 Families of Religions   Shinto        No deity
Beginning in the clans and families of historic Japan, seasonal agricultural rites were celebrated. Spirits or kami residing in natural things provided a pervasive spiritual atmosphere. Shinto moved through a time of state religion. Today the emphasis is on local, nature based religious observance. Shrines host ritual observances, rites of passage,  and festivals.  Every shrine has at least one torii - a special gateway. It signifies the boundary between the secular world and the sacred. Purification rituals grow out of a concern over continuity, balance and purity in life. 
Links:  Guide to Japan Shrines  An introduction to present day religion in Japan
Japan Guide - Information on Shinto as practiced in Japan.
Update 7-10-09
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