I’ve never been much of a spiritual person or religious either. But since moving to Japan for the second time I’ve felt differently. Here there are 2 main religions, Shinto and Buddhism, the first, Shinto, is similar to paganism, worshiping gods that are part of nature – mountains, trees, animals etc.
And Buddhism is about the body and soul and gaining enlightenment.
These two work hand in hand as they don’t overlap in any areas of their ideals so there isn’t any ‘my god is better than your god’ nonsense.
Shinto deals with everyday life whereas Buddhism deals with death & the afterlife.
It seems a spiritual place as regards to the Shinto religion, you can’t avoid seeing small shrines dotted about the place to respect local gods, statues of foxes and lions etc. Trees with rope tied round them with paper talismans hanging down. Local festivals with lions, foxes, spirits and deities performing dances.
Even the names of places have some spirit connections, a town near where i live is called Ishigamimae, which means ‘In front of the Stone God’ conjures up images of a huge stone golem striding around the forest, squashing wayward hikers.
So when people say that someone has committed suicide off a certain bridge and mentions a ghost, or someone has seen a face in a window of an abandoned house, it seems to have a bit more meaning.