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.