Shinto is a general term for the activities of the Japanese people to worship all the deities of heaven and earth, and its origin is as old as the history of the Japanese. It was towards the end of the 6th century when the Japanese were conscious of these activities and called them 'Way of Kami(the deity or the deities)'. It coincides the time when the 31st Emperor Yomei prayed before an image of Buddha for the first time as an emperor for recovery of his illness. Thus accepting Buddhism, a foreign religion, the Japanese realized existence of a tradition of their own faith.
After having gone through a long history since then, this indigenous faith, Shinto, has developed into four main forms: Koshitsu Shinto (Shinto of the Imperial House), Jinja Shinto (Shrine Shinto), Shuha Shinto (Sectarian Shinto), and Minzoku Shinto (Folk Shinto).