Goryu-shinto is the ho-ryu school (school by a Priestly Imperial Prince) of Shinto handed down among people such as hosshinno (Imperial Princes who became Buddhism priests). Goryu-shinto is developed from Ryobu Shinto (a fusion of Shinto and Shingon sect of Buddhism) by being closely combined with Shingon Esoteric Buddhism.
Goryu-shinto originally refers to only ninna-ji-goryu (omuro-goryu) of Ninna-ji Temple started by Priestly Imperial Prince Kakuho, however, later on, from ninna-ji-goryu, Goutain started daikaku-ji-goryu at Daikaku-ji Temple and Priestly Imperial Prince Shukaku started sanpo-in-goryu at Sanpoin at Daigo-ji Temple and, schools further branched from these schools such as jison-in-ryu, itoku-in-ryu, and shinjo-in-ryu were collectively called as goryu-shinto.
It is considered that goryu-shinto was established from the end of Heian period to Kamakura period, and goryu-shinto was handed down with various kancho ceremonies (a type of Buddhism ceremony) and, in Muromachi period, goryu-shinto kagyohosoku (training rules) based on esoteric Buddhism courtesy was established and, at the start of Edo period, the format of inshin (a certificate certifying handing down of the secrets in esoteric Buddhism) was completed for 80 inshin and koketsu (the secrets orally handed down) called goryu-shinto-koketsu was also established.
Although goryu-shinto was dissolved under the order to separate Shintoism and Buddhism from each other in the Meiji Restoration, traces of inshin and koketsu of goryu-shinto still remain in esoteric Buddhism temples at present.