Tokyobling's Blog

Shrine Maiden – Konouhachimangu

Posted in People, Places by tokyobling on February 28, 2014

I took this photo of a shrine maiden on duty in Shibuya’s grand shrine, the Konouhachimangu (金王八幡宮) at the annual festival last year. Some of these shrine maidens, or mike (巫女) are full time employees of the shrine but the vast majority are temporarily employed part time workers. Most of them are high school students or university students doing it for the experience and for pocket money. Although most people are impressed by young women with miko work experience there are also other bonuses, such as learning about customer service and Japanese culture and traditions. I have also heard ex-miko who mention that their math skills improved as they learned to calculate quickly in the heads when working over the main holidays selling votive plates, charmes, etc. I also think it is impossible to find any service job in the world where the staff are treated with more respect than this! On the negative side, in the winters the thin uniform and the hours spent outside can make it an almost unbearable experience for many. Some miko are also quite tired of the often very repetitive work as well as tired of constantly being photographed. This last complaint hits hard with myself, especially!

For their stoic service and hard work in the cold of winter or heat of summer a typical part-time miko can expect to earn between 8000 and 12 000 yen per day, depending on age, experience and length of work. This is a typical part time salary here in Tokyo and higher than many full time positions out in the prefectures. Good work, if you are unmarried and reasonably stoic!



14 Responses

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  1. Mustang.Koji said, on February 28, 2014 at 4:56 am

    I’m surprised of the pay… I had never given any thought, though, of them doing it FOR pay. But her face and hair matches her yukata perfectly.


    • tokyobling said, on February 28, 2014 at 5:31 am

      The shrines need staff and they can afford to pay them so why not? (^-^) I took many more photos but I always feel a little guilty when I take photos of mike. (^-^;)


  2. Dina Farmer said, on February 28, 2014 at 6:33 am

    LOL poor miko! She kind of looked mad! But if you think about that…converted to American dollars for part time work they are making bank! I would say..that 12,000 yen is about $117 dollars a day….


    • tokyobling said, on February 28, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Yes, the money is totally ok if you are still living with your parents or do it mostly for the experience. Tens of millions of people live on less even here in Japan. (^-^)


  3. TonyJ2 said, on February 28, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I think that is a fantastic photo. Something about black and white as well.


  4. Shelli@howsitgoingeh? said, on March 1, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Wow! What a great salary! And going away with better math skills??? Sounds like a great part time occupation!


    • tokyobling said, on March 3, 2014 at 1:04 am

      Yes, if I was a young female living in Tokyo I’d try this part time job out for sure! (^-^)


  5. lovelycomplex22 said, on March 1, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Stunning picture!


  6. romainboitier said, on March 3, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Just perfect


  7. sarabanto said, on March 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Feels like a modern goddess:D


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