During our most recent trip to Japan, in 2019, we visited the Kanda shrine — it was on our way to the sake association’s tasting center 😉
Next to the shrine was a building with a ‘cultural space’: a cafe, a shop and an event space, clearly associated with the shrine. It was quite new — apparently the Kanda shrine featured in the anime Love Live!, and being relatively close to Akihabara, I’m guessing it gets its fair amount of ‘pilgrims’ which must have put quite a chunk of cash in the shrine’s coffers. If this is the result, then that’s not bad at all!
We browsed through the shop for a bit, and I bought the book ‘Shinto from an international perspective’ by Satoshi Yamaguchi. It’s a dual-language book: pages to the left are in English, pages to the right are in Japanese. The writer is an ordained Shinto priest and worked in Geneva — so his perspective is indeed more international than many other shinto priests.
It’s an interesting read, but shallow. It does not really spend a lot of time on the foundational shinto myths, but it does do a good job of explaining the history and the various changes it underwent as a result of various social and political changes in Japan. Some things in the history of shrines we visited, puzzled me — and with this increased understanding, I’m more able to get the nuances.
If you’re interested in the subject, then it’s a very good starting point.