Basic Terms of Shinto

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Thunder god. There are shrines in various localities dedicated to Kamowakeikazuchi no kami and Karaijin. This deity was believed to manifest itself in the form of a serpent or child, and was often associated with the production of rain. In some areas today, a ceremony called Raikôsai is held whenever lightning strikes.


Gagaku musician. Shrines such as Ise no Jingû, Kasuga Taisha, and Itsukushima Jinja have groups of reijin that perform gagaku for religious ceremonies.

Reisai[Glossary: reisai]

The main festival of a shrine, celebrated annually or semi-annually. The day chosen for the festival is believed to have some special affinity with the deity or to be connected with the founding of the shrine.


Ritsu is the ancient penal code. Violations of the ryô (laws), kyaku (temporary laws), or shiki (detailed regulations based on the ryô), were punished in accordance with the ritsu. The first ritsu was compiled in six volumes together with the Taihôryô in eleven volumes in 701. The oldest extant ritsu, in ten volumes, was compiled in 718.

Ryô was the basic premodern law, comparable to the constitution of today. The first ryô was the Ômiryô (22 volumes), compiled in 662 during the reign of Emperor Tenchi. The next was the Taihôryô (11 volumes), compiled in 701 during the reign of Emperor Mommu. The next was the Yôrôryô (10 volumes), compiled in 718 during the reign of Empress Genshô, which is extant. The Jingiryô, laws concerning the gods, are regulations related to imperial coronation ceremonies as well as major annual festivals.

Ryôbu Shintô

Dual Shinto, a term used to refer generally to Shinto as syncretized with Buddhism, and specifically to that syncretic Shinto as interpreted by the Shingon sect (see Shingon Shinto), in contrast to Tendai Shintô.

Ryôbu shûgô Shintô

see Shingon Shintô

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