And more than this, Shinto like Christianity and other world religions has, I believe, a structure which structures Japanese society and in particular the family, in much the same way as the "philosophy" of Christianity structures the societies of the Christian West.
To cut a long story short, I think that Shinto can be best be understood as a form of geographical totemism as referred to by Durkheim and Freud.
As mentioned above the sacred in Shinto is almost invariably linked with a particular geographical location.
In Shinto, God is something that you can point to, it is "there".
Lacking an organisation and any linguistic formulation of how one should behave, Shinto is particularly transparent.
Rather than an oral tradition all Shinto seems to possess is a bodily tradition - one sees the body of another, one imitates, the practice is transferred.The fundamental building block of Japanese society is not the individual in the Western sense but the small group.The distinguishing characteristic of Japanese small groups is that they contain the essential element of a space, a place where they are founded.While Shinto is very different from the Judaic religions and even Indian Buddhism, it does in my view contain sufficient points of commonality to allow it to be compared these and to be called a religion.In Shinto there is prayer to and worship of something transcendent, not part of the mundane physical world.The views expressed here are my own and have A lot of people who are religious like to deny it. I am not religious", they say, "I know that Jesus is Lord...But that is not religious, it is a historical fact". And Shintoist too, are particularly unlikely to see their behaviour as being "religious".The Entering the boundary one washes ones hands and mouth.One steps into the in sanctuary with ones left foot first and before one leaves one bows.They may have had their car purified, they may have asked their local god for good luck before their university entrance examinations or making investments, they are likely to go to a shrine every year on New Year's Day. ho ho."How much money would I have to pay you to go home today without having prayed? While those that answered "yes" to the first two questions were in the minority, to the third question, all except one of the 40 respondents replied "I would not do home without praying, no matter how much money you gave me." It was apparent that some of the some of the respondents were slightly offended to be asked.They may even ask for assistance with a Title Max title loan if they need some money. The single respondent that would have excepted the money to go home without praying defined himself as a Christian.