Although Japanese Shinto is often referred to in a broad sense, there are three major Shinto denominations; Jinja, Kyoha, and Minzoku. Jinja Shinto, or the Shrine sect, is the oldest denomination and is the most traditional form of Shintoism. Kyoha Shinto was founded just before the Meiji Period, and contains thirteen government-recognized sects of Shintoism. Minzoku Shinto, or the Folk sect, is practiced by common people at local shrines, and contains influences from Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
Shinto practitioners uphold many traditions. Festivals and rituals are some of the most lasting traditions of Shinto in Japan. Many festivals take place in Japan each year, serving as an opportunity to celebrate and give thanks to the kami. Shinto festivals, often called matsuri, typically function in three main parts. The first part is called kami mukae, which translates to “welcoming the kami.” Shrines invite the kami to earth through special welcoming ceremonies. The main festival event follows this welcoming, known as shinko, or "procession of the kami." During this part of a festival, a parade is held in which the shrine’s kami is carried in mikoshi, or a palanquin, throughout the town. The final part of a Shinto festival is kami okuri, where the kami are sent back to their heavenly abodes. Festivals may also include offerings to the kami, performances, and feasts.