Miko are Shinto Shrine Maidens and were originally female shamans in the depths of Japanese history, able to communicate with the shrine deity or kami. Nowadays they are more likely college students or the daughter of the shrine's priest working part-time helping out in festivals and shrine rituals.
Normally dressed in red hakama (trousers) and a white haori (jacket), miko assist ceremonies and participate in sacred dances in shrines of all sizes throughout Japan. Small shrines may have only one miko, while larger shrines such as Heian Shrine in Kyoto may employ dozens.
Miko characters are also popular in anime and manga.
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