Folk Shinto is a Shinto faith which was customarily practiced by common people without being systematized. Thus it is inseparable from the Shrine Shinto. However, in the time of the 40th Emperor Temmu (673-686), it was segregated from the Shrine Shinto when the government of the time set up a certain system relating to the Japanese traditional rituals and festivals, which had been long practiced in parallel with rituals of Buddhism, the state religion of Japan at that time. After that, Folk Shinto gradually developed by itself forming an complex form of rituals and festivals which sometimes amalgamated even with Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Among them, those which have not lost traditional forms of Shinto are considered now to be Folk Shinto.
In an agricultural community, for instance, there is a custom that rituals are performed by a lay-man without involving a priest. A member of the community (often young boy) is nominated as "Toya", and he performs rites to worship the deity of the locality for one year under the rotation system.
Another examples of Folk Shinto are rites of passages of life and the year-round observances. They are all closely related to rites and festivals performed at the Shinto Shrine.