This miniature omikoshi, or portable Shinto shrine, comes with a wooden box and rests on a red fabric-covered platform. The bottom half of the omikoshi is black wood with two long beams tipped with gold, with gold handles on each end. Long beams are supported by two planks at each side of the center, with trapezoidal supports for the planks. These supports are speckled with gold. The top part is gold and resembles a small building. On the square gold base there are four torii (Shinto gates) surrounding the central building, which is covered in red cloth with white designs. There is a silver circle on each side. The roof is hexagonal, with a loop of metal on each corner; the four of these closest to the beams are connected to them with coiled red string. This string has two bells attached. There is a bird on the very top and patterns of a circle and a flower on each of the six wedges of the roof. The box is wood, with a sliding top with characters on it in black and red.
A mikoshi is a portable palanquin-style Shinto shrine. Shinto deities, called kami, require a physical home in order to manifest (whether that physical home is naturally occurring, such as a sacred rock, or artificial, such as a Shinto temple). Therefore a mikoshi (or omikoshi) serves to transport a kami during a festival procession or while moving between temples. Mikoshi typically resemble a miniature building.
In the Shinto religion, which is indigenous to Japan, divinity is manifested within nature itself. Mountains, rivers, and trees, for example, were thought to be the holy residences of the kami. Shinto, meaning "Way of the Gods," can be understood as a collection of practices, attitudes, and institutions that express the Japanese people's relationship with their land and with the life cycles of the earth and humans. Shinto emerged gradually in ancient times and is distinctive in that it has no founder, no sacred books, no teachers, no saints, and no well-defined pantheon. Nor has it developed a moral order or a hierarchical priesthood, and it does not offer salvation after death. Shinto is sometimes seen more as a way of life rather than a religion by the Japanese due to its long historical and cultural significance. Shinto coexists with Buddhism, with many of the kami understood to be bodhisattvas as well and vice-versa.