Since the mid-nineteenth century, many of Japan's religious move-ments have developed separately from and independent of the main religious traditions of Shinto and Buddhism. These movements are generally known as the new religions. Although the oldest of them, such as Tenrikyo, are around 150 years old, they are still relatively new as religions when compared to Shinto or Buddhism, which in Japan are some 1400 years old. The new religions are also 'new' because they have offered new opportunities for religious expression and understanding in the modern world, thus presenting a new alternative to the older religious traditions.