What happened when Buddhism arrived in Japan, and met the Japanese kami (deities in Japan)? How did the two relate to each other, and what changes occurred in religious thought and practice? These problems have been addressed by many scholars, not only from a purely historical perspective, but also as a starting point for reflection on the adaptation of foreign cultural elements in Japan. However, the premise of a bipolar divine realm, containing only kami and Buddhist divinities, and the exclusive focus on the different kinds of rapprochement and conflict between the two, has placed severe methodological restrictions on the study of the subject. As a result, many questions have remained unasked. First of all, while the conventional method has been useful in exploring the diachronical development of amalgamation, it has clear limitations when we take a synchronical perspective. Even more fundamentally, one has to raise the question to what extent the assumed dichotomy of kami versus Buddhist divinities was in any way important, or even recognized in pre-modem Japan. We must not lose sight of the fact that there was a large divine realm that was not so easily categorized. It is hardly possible to understand the world-view and mentality of the medieval Japanese as long as we fail to take this basic fact into account. With a methodology that posits a simple distinction between kami and buddhas, one can never hope to make sense of the medieval divine realm. To supplement the findings arrived at with more traditional methods, in this paper I have attempted to open up another perspective.