Japan has a uniquely religious way of life, a life filled with the blessings of the gods – not one omnipotent creator, protector, benefactor, exemplar, adjudicator.
Instead, Japanese kami take many forms: mythical gods that explain the order of the universe; place-based gods that inhabit mountains and groves and lakes and seas; ancient trees venerated as the earthly abode of heavenly visitors; mystic messengers in animal form; supernatural beings in the guise of ghosts and demons; martyrs and saints that become gods by example; and the spirits of ancestors who have long since crossed over.
Some say this country has a god for everything, and after a while you begin to agree.
- The goddess of the sun, and ancestral deity of the imperial family. She is the most important kami in the Shinto pantheon. She is the sister of Tsukuyomi and Susanō.
- The goddess of sensuality and revelry. Because of her role in enticing the sun goddess to reveal herself, she is also considered the goddess of dawn.
- The water goddess and patroness of learning, art, music, poetry, rhetoric, eloquence, and all “things that flow.” She is originally a Buddhist goddess, but she has been adopted into the Shinto pantheon under the name Itsukushima-hime.
- The god of good fortune, and is the patron of fishermen and workmen. He is known as the laughing god.
- The goddess of Mount Fuji, which is the spiritual symbol of the nation. Her name is an allusion to the ephemeral beauty of the cherry blossom.
- The original ruler of Earth, but when Ninigi was sent to replace him, Ōkuninushi was made ruler of the unseen world. He is the patron of good fortune and good marital relationships.
- The Ferocious Virulent Male God, patron of the summer storm. He is the brother of Tsukuyomi and Amaterasu.
- The god of the moon. He is the brother of Amaterasu and Susanō.