Shinto followers believe that many “Kami” or “Gods” are around them in nature and the forces of nature. Things such as wind, rain and thunder are seen as such spirits, as well as unusual things in landscape such as mountains, caves and springs. The most important of these “Kami” was the Goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu. Amaterasu roughly translated means, “that which illuminates the heavens”. She is considered one of the most important Kami because she was said to have invented the ways of cultivating rice and wheat.
Human nature is seen to be good in Shinto eyes, and the badness in people is caused by evil spirits. Because the “Kami” are all around them in the earth and the sky, Shintos believe that evil spirits were caused by pollution, and purity and cleansing is supposed to be rid of them.