Japanese religious history, as will be demonstrated succinctly in the four links on this section of the website, consists primarily in the interplay between the native religious tradition of Shinto and the influences of imported traditions, such as, and especially, Buddhism. The history of religiousness in Japan is an example of a high degree of syncretism. As religions have come together and diverged throughout Japanese history, traditions have become distinct to varying degrees.
Please read through the following essays and observe some of the developments of religiousness in Japan from prehistory up until the modern era.
Ancient Period (14,000 BCE-400s CE) Japanese Religious History from its beginnings in the prehistoric past until the beginnings of Japanese culture as we recognize it. Classical Period (500s-900s) Japanese Religious History from the introduction and development of Buddhism in Japan until the beginning of the Warring States period. Medieval and Early Modern Periods (1000s-1800s) Japanese Religious History through the Warring States period, Tokugawa Ieyasu's unification of Japan, until the Meiji Restoration. Modern Period (late 1800s - modernity) Japanese Religious History from the Meiji Restoration until the present day.