If you frequent Japanese Shinto shrines, you may have noticed that they are commonly placed in forests or are at least filled with many trees or other objects of nature. This is because the Shinto religion believes in “kami,” which are the deities of the religion. Kami are almost always objects or forces of nature, such as trees, mountains, rivers, plants, oceans, birds, animals, and even humans. The Shinto religion believes that anything that is considered strikingly impressive, possesses qualities of excellence, or inspires feelings of awe can be considered kami. This means that the Shinto religion worships hundreds of different kami.
Because the Shinto religion worships deities related to nature, it only seems fit that the shrines be surrounded in nature. The Shinto religion believes that kami bring both blessing and disaster to human life, and therefore, if kami are not worshipped adequately or they are neglected, they might bring evil or behave violently and destructively. However, if the kami are worshipped well, they will bring blessings upon society.
The Shinto religion is all about living harmoniously with nature and treating nature with respect, which is something that should be practiced by everyone, not just Shinto believers. Due to the gorgeous locations and nature surrounding Shinto shrines, these shrines act as pleasant environments for the community as well as important ecological sanctuaries for many plants and animals. In turn, Shinto shrines benefit not only the religious community, but all other communities as well.