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Shimenawa 注連縄 at Izumo Taisha Shrine, Shimane, Japan: Shimenawa (enclosing rope) are lengths of braided rice straw rope used for ritual purification in the Shinto religion in Japan.

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SHINTOISM: Shinto means the way of the gods. Shintoism is an Ancient religion of Japan. It started at least as long ago as 1000 B.C.E. but is still practiced today by at least five million people. The followers of Shintoism believe that spiritual powers exist in the natural world. They believe that "spirits" called kami live in natural places such as in animals, plants, stones, mountains, rivers, people and even the dead.

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The priests of Ise Shrine, Japan: Among thousands of Shinto Shrines in Japan, Ise Shrine, located at Ise city in Mie Prefecture, is treated as the most sacred place from time immemorial. It is dedicated to the goddess of sun, also of the universe – Amaterasu-omikami. She is the major deity of the Shinto religion.

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The jinja, or shrine, is where believers in Japan's indigenous religion, Shintô, go to worship.

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Kamigamo Shrine is an important Shinto sanctuary on the banks of the Kamo River in north Kyoto, first founded in 678. It is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan and is one of the seventeen Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

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Tokyo Prayer boards at Meiji Jingu Shrine (yes, I visited temples in Tokyo--they also tie message written on strips of paper to trees)

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神々の巨樹. Kyoju of the Gods. Ancient tree in Japan. Photography by Yoshida Shigeru on Ganref

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The geikos are just about to throw the lucky beans at the Setsuban festival at the Yasaka shrine in Kyoto Japan

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