Shinto is the religion of Japan. The word “shinto” came from the Chinese words shin and tao (“the way of the gods/ spirits”), a translation of the Japanese phrase kami-no-michi. Kami is the spiritual essence that exists in gods, human beings, animals, and even inanimate objects. The Shinto believe that the world is created, inhabited, and ruled by kami. The religion was named in the eighth century, after Buddhism was introduced, to distinguish the two.