Translated from Kitaro no Tengoku to Jigoku
The oldest of Japan’s concepts of Heaven was known as the Distant Land (Tokoyo no Kuni), and was considered the land of the ancestor spirits. It was a magical land where rice was abundant as well as other treasures, and no one ever grew old or died.
The ancestor spirits lived in the Distant Land in much the same way as they did in life. They ate and drank, they slept and woke. If asked exactly where this Distant Land lied, the location depended on the local beliefs. Most traditionally, the Distant Land was on the far side of the ocean, in an unseen island. Here on this island the ancestor spirits would swim and play about in boats, and sometimes travel back to Japan via the secret pathways of wells.
The ancestors in the Distant Land took the form of kami, and still looked over and occasionally helped their living relatives on Earth.