Shrine maidens and convenience stores

Japanese shrine maidens (miko) clearly have to eat, and it’s obviously absurd to imagine that they have lunch in austere rooms, silently eating freshly cooked rice and some boiled vegetables. Yet at the same time, simply popping into the convenience store like the masses of more conventionally dressed salaried workers, somehow seems rather incongruous.

Japanese shrine maiden


  1. says

    They really aren’t too mysterious, I have some college friends who do it as a part time job. Unless their family is part of the shrine they probably aren’t going to be there too long.

    • says

      Thanks for the info. I’ve often wondered what kind of people do those jobs, and if it was generally just a part-time gig like shop work etc. Certainly something novel compared to working at McDonalds or an izakaya.

  2. Jaska says

    I wonder how an average konbini cashier would react when a person attired in a miko kit walks in. Would something like that be common or rare?

    • says

      Pretty rare I’d say. Or at least rare for me. First time in 14 years.

      But while I was surprised, it always amazes me how such occurrences are invariably dealt with as common place here — at least outwardly. So the staff probably didn’t bat an eyelid.

      • Magnus369 says

        Considering I’ve yet to hear of any doing any actual harm, I would think most would consider it good luck to have one walk into their store.

  3. AndyT says

    Nice moment. Great timing!

    I wonder what she bought. Not something traditional I reckon!

  4. says

    In addition to the incongruity of the ‘miko’ coming out of a corner store and the great colors, what I really like about this shot is that you lined up the top of your shot with the top frame of the storefront. The angle really works. Nice perspective.

    • says

      Thanks a lot. I saw her going in, so had chance to line up the shot. One of those rare occurrences when there’s time to make a conscious decision.

  5. Willy says

    Recently there has been quite a bit of talk of how convenience stores in Japan are encroaching on the traditional markets of the supers, selling fresh veggies and so on, and hence attracting older ‘shoppers’… and under that shift I suppose statistics will get you a surprise at the end of your lens… me thinks…
    Nice shot…looks like she got what she came for…

    • says


      Yeah, that certainly seems to be the case. Fresh veggies at cheap prices. So called ‘natural’ stores too. Good in many ways, but obviously it makes life even harder for small, independent shops. More interesting shots at the conbini, less at the increasingly defunct mom and pop shops.

      Progress. Sort of.

  6. Chris says

    I remember back when I visited that all the miko were not exactly young, except for the Kasuga shrine in Nara. For some reason they had lots of young pretty miko, though sadly they didn’t want me to take photos!

    • says

      It seems to depend on the shrine. And on the time of year. At busy times a lot of students are hired. Or at least they are student age.

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