[[quoteright:250:[[LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cit_suzumiya_haruhi_-_novel7_miko.jpg]]]]
A miko (巫女) is a shrine maiden in the UsefulNotes/{{Shinto}} religion. Given the strength of Shinto in Japan and the position shrine maidens hold in it, it is no surprise that they are a common character type in anime. Straight portrayals and dramatizations are used just as frequently as a priest or nun would be in North American or European media. If a main character, she might be [[MagicalGirl endowed with]] [[{{Onmyodo}} mystical powers]] in order to fight demons, hang [[PaperTalisman [=Ofuda=]]] so that [[SealedEvilInACan she won't have to fight the demons in the first place]], receive visions, etc. Otherwise fictional and non-fictional Miko work in [[ShrinesAndTemples shrines]], often as an afterschool job. Their outfits traditionally consist of red ''hakama'' (trousers) or a long red skirt, and a white ''haori'' (kimono jacket).

Miko are more common in {{H-Game}}s, because they don't have a ''permanent'' vow of chastity; they can just take over their temple when the head priest(ess) dies or quits, and then they can do whatever they want. Japanese depictions of most priestesses and other low-rung religious functionaries tend to borrow from miko, [[NunsAreMikos including nuns]].

Another reason they are common in {{H-game}}s and {{Fanservice}}-laden anime, however, is that they wear uniforms, and like many other seemingly benign and non-sexualized uniforms, [[KimonoFanService the uniform itself]] can be a form of FetishFuel that is [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar easy to get past the radar]]. Of course, Shinto is a little less strict about sexuality, so it isn't as sacrilegious as [[NaughtyNuns sexualized nuns]].

Historically, a miko served as an oracle, offering prophecy in the form of a dance. In real life, most modern Miko will help out with shrine functions such as cleaning, perform ceremonial dances based on the historical versions, offer fortunes (omikuji, those little slips of paper that tell you what your luck will be like), and sell souvenirs, sometimes as a part-time job.

(Not to be confused with ''that'' [[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick Miko.]] Or [[WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime that one.]] [[OverlyLongGag And]] [[Franchise/YuGiOh confusing]] [[VideoGame/CityOfHeroes it]] [[ThreateningShark with]] [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII any]] [[VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic form]] [[Franchise/MassEffect of]] {{Mako}} [[Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger is]] [[Anime/KillLaKill just]] [[WesternAnimation/LegendOfKorra stretching]] [[LampshadeHanging it]].)

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!!Examples:

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[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Mayura of ''Manga/MythicalDetectiveLokiRagnarok''.
* ''Manga/NagasareteAirantou'': Ayane, Machi, Chizuru, Yashiro.
* ''Anime/{{Kamichu}}'': Matsuri and Miko
* ''Manga/KannazukiNoMiko'': Himeko and Chikane (obviously)
* ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'': Sakura, who is also the school nurse.
* ''Franchise/SailorMoon'':
** Rei "Sailor Mars" Hino is a ''miko'' at her shrine, which amplifies her spiritual powers. Many of her attacks are Shinto-based, and in civilian form, she can drive off monsters with ''{{ofuda}}''. Sailor Moon's creator, Creator/NaokoTakeuchi, did ''miko'' work in a shrine as a youngster and used her experience as the basis for Rei's character, making this a case of WriteWhatYouKnow.
** In an episode of the ''R'' series of the [[Anime/SailorMoon first anime]], Minako and Makoto briefly work as miko to cover up for Rei when she's busy at the SchoolFestival. HilarityEnsues.
* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'': [[WholesomeCrossdresser Ukyo]] [[UnluckyChildhoodFriend Kuonji]] is shown as an example of the 'parttime/after-school' version in one of the late manga oneshot stories. She presumably only was there a short time or was only a 'casual' miko, as she never displayed any mystical talents during or after that story.
* ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'': Kaho Mizuki, the daughter of a Miko priest
* ''Manga/MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'': In the manga, Rina sometimes fills in for the ''miko'' at a shrine devoted to a mermaid spirit.
* An obscure little anime called ''Manga/AsagiriNoMiko'' featured several miko who were sisters and classmates, and a fair amount of the plot revolved around said shrine. An early episode featured the girls getting initiated as priestesses, with cold water baths and other rites. They also battled demons and stuff in later episodes.
* The Simoun Sibyllae in ''Anime/{{Simoun}}'' are treated as ''miko''s (and called that by name), although their religion is quite different from Shinto. Likewise the priestesses of the Plumbum Highlands.
* Kirara in ''Anime/SamuraiSeven''.
* ''Manga/BlueExorcist'' has Izumo Kamiki, who drives the shrine maiden motif home by fighting with twin foxes she summons from paper talismans. She actually comes from a long line of miko [[spoiler: which ended when her mother was [[DemonicPossession possessed]] by the SealedEvilInACan that her family was suppose to keep under control and tried to [[OffingTheOffspring kill]] her daughters. [[FromBadToWorse Then the Illuminati came in...]]]]
* Arashi Kishuu in ''Manga/{{X1999}}'', raised by the mikos of the famous ''Ise Jingun'' shrine [[spoiler: because her mother was one of them]]. Technically, Yuzuriha Nekoi is supposed to become a miko as well, but her grandmother preferred to send her away to school and to fulfill her destiny as a Dragon of Heaven.
* The Hiiragi siblings in ''Manga/LuckyStar'', given that their father is a Shinto priest.
* Miko are all over ''Manga/InuYasha'' in both major and supporting roles, particularly Kikyou, her sister Kaede (also leader of her village), and Midoriko, the "creator" of the Shikon No Tama; Kagome, although not really identified as a miko prior to people in the Sengoku era simply jumping to conclusions, also has many of the powers of a miko, as a result of being Kikyou's reincarnation. There's also an ''evil'' miko, Tsubaki, who started as a normal one [[RivalTurnedEvil but was driven to evil]] over her jealousy against Kikyou.
** Kagome's family does run what appears to be a traditional Shinto Shrine, however. Though Kagome doesn't seem to perform miko tasks when in there.
** In addition, [[spoiler:Kagome was dressed as a miko at the end of the series, implying she has taken up the position now that she lives in the feudal era.]]
* Miyako from ''Anime/GhostHound''. At one point she even becomes the [[OracularUrchin prophet for a local cult]], although not entirely willingly.
* Shiho Munakata from ''Anime/MaiHime'' works part-time at a Shinto shrine with her grandfather, which she and her friends visit in one episode.
* In the BonusEpisode of ''Anime/{{Amaenaideyo}}'' the haremettes face off against a group of mikos and a group of Catholic nuns in a game show. While they themselves are often confused for mikos in the West, they are actually Buddhist nuns.
* In ''LightNovel/WagayaNoOinariSama'', Ko is the family sentinel, a miko with powers.
* Hikaru and Kaoru Midou from ''Anime/TsukuyomiMoonPhase''.
* Tsumugi in ''Manga/TheMikosWordsAndTheWitchesIncantations''.
* Ren-tan from ''Anime/BinchouTan''.
* The epitome of Mikos in the MagicalGirl world: Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo from ''Manga/FushigiYuugi''.
** Technically, predated by other two girls from ImperialJapan times: Takiko Okuda and Suzuno Osugi. Takiko is upgraded to HeroOfAnotherStory in ''Manga/FushigiYuugiGenbuKaiden''.
* ''Manga/SilentMobius'': Yamigumo Nami, who wears her outfit instead of a uniform. She fights with holy water and ''[=ofuda=]'' but later acquires some more powerful weapons.
* Ayako in ''Manga/GhostHunt''.
* In ''Anime/RentalMagica'' miko has a very limited set of abilities, but in this setting the main advantage of Shinto are purification rituals. Thus little Mikan almost exclusively provides cover, but she's ''very'' strong in this role and may be the most indispensable member of the team when they face something really nasty.
* Riza, of ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'', is a Miko, though you wouldn't be able to tell except in the chapters where they visit her home.
* Sabrina, from Pokemon's ''Manga/TheElectricTaleOfPikachu'' manga. This is [[OutOfCharacter quite different]] from nasty NightmareFuelStationAttendant / EmptyShell SplitPersonality in the anime.
* The two {{Magical Girl}}s of ''Anime/UmiMonogatari'' are referred to as the "Priestess of the Sky" and "Priestess of the Sea", though only the former's transformed outfit looks like a Miko's.
* Mikuru Asahina from the ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' light novels is forced to dress up as one of these at one point to exorcise some ghosts.
* Tomoe from ''Anime/QueensBlade''
* The ''VideoGame/HarukanaruTokiNoNakaDe'' franchise, like ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'', is centered around two schoolgirls becoming TrappedInAnotherWorld to serve as mikos to the local deity (the Yin and Yang side of the Dragon God). They are consistently called mikos, and in the manga/anime adaptations, at least one of them (Akane) has been shown wearing a typical miko outfit at some points.
* ''Manga/HappyLesson'': Yayoi Sanzenin, also the SchoolNurse.
* Yomogi Inaba from ''Manga/OtogiMatsuri''; she can see spirits and has inherited a group of five small spirit foxes.
* [[UnluckyChildhoodFriend Akina]] from ''Anime/UFOPrincessValkyrie''. She also [[ACupAngst has feelings of inadequacy]] and [[{{Tsundere}} attitude problems]].
* Horribly subverted in ''Manga/MiraiNikki'', as the Miko we meet (Tsubaki Kasugano) is not only one of the Diary Holders, but a member [[spoiler:and prisoner/SexSlave]] of a ReligionOfEvil. [[spoiler:In an AlternateUniverse, though, Tsubaki ''is'' the real deal as well as an {{all loving hero}}ine.]]
* Mana Tatsumiya from ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', in between the breaks she gets in her mercenary job. This apparently does not conflict [[spoiler:with her being half-demon]].
* Kureha Akabane from ''Anime/NightWizard The Animation'' deserves a mention here.
* Sakuyamon from ''Anime/DigimonTamers''. She has an alternate outfit that is the traditional miko uniform.
* While far from being an actual miko, the concept of a 'miko chanelling the gods' is stated to have been an inspiration for ''Anime/RebuildOfEvangelion'''s Mari Makinami by WordOfGod
* Kantarou from ''Manga/{{Tactics}}'' dresses like one but when someone brings it up he denies it, insisting it just happens to be read and white.
* Akimoto, Misono, Ryouko and Manabe from ''JinjyaNoSusume'', a manga that takes a more or less realistic look at running a Shinto shrine and the work Miko do.
* Shirayuki from ''LightNovel/AriaTheScarletAmmo''.
* Madoka from ''VisualNovel/HoshizoraEKakaruHashi''.
* Micaiah Chevelle of ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaViVid'' is either one or simply dresses like one for her Barrier Jacket.
* ''Manga/SengokuYouko'' has a miko in the form of Rinzu, though how much she adheres to formal duties are up for guessing, as her adopted parent is a mountain goddess.
* Akeno from ''LightNovel/HighSchoolDXD'' is probably a (double?) subversion, she wears the uniform when she uses her strongest magic and is known as the Priestess Of Lightning (in Japanese Miko is used)... but she's also a demon.
* Mahoro from episode 5 of ''Manga/{{Mahoromatic}}'' dresses as a miko while Suguru and his friends are ghosthunting at their school. Her rationale is just having some fun with the situation.
* Miko-chan of ''Manga/OtasukeMikoMikoChan'' is a MagicalGirl based off of shrine maidens. She is a {{Mascot}} for the Mikoshiba shrine more than anything else, helping [[TheMerch sell official merchandise of herself]] to keep the place afloat.
* Minori in ''LightNovel/LogHorizon'' appears as a kannagi in this game-turned-reality series. Her powers are part of the character class, with no specific religious tenets attached.
* ClassRepresentative Manami Mitami from ''Manga/CentaurNoNayami'' lives at a shrine and is a miko. Ironically, she's an [[OurAngelsAreDifferent angel]].

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[[folder:Film]]
* A miko was needed in ''Film/GodzillaVsMechagodzilla'' to awaken King Caesar.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Nobuta from ''NobutawoProduce''.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' 4th edition, the third players handbook adds the ''Seeker'' class, which seems based on Miko. They are the equivalent of holy warriors of the Primal Spirits (spirit entities akin to, but separate from, the Gods and Primordials, who embody various aspects of the natural order and the real world, from blood ties to the seasons to specific creatures and placses), who seek out and destroy enemies of the natural order. They use magical powers granted by the Primal Spirits and channeled through bows and throwing weapons to create all kinds of magical effects, such as causing strangling grasses and vines to suddenly erupt from where their arrow hit the ground and ensnare all nearby enemies.
** In fact, the Seeker was originally intended to be part of a "ki" power source, but the creators realized the UnfortunateImplications in producing a set of classes that shared nothing in common but the "inspired by Asia" background, and so it was broken apart. While the Seeker became a Primal Controller, the Monk, the only other apparent survivor, became a Psionic Striker.
* In the setting provided in the ''MechaVsKaiju'' RPG the intelligence branch of Japan's mecha defense force is made up entirely of Mikos. This makes some sense considering [[spoiler: The original Kaiju was an Oni mutated by the Hiroshima bomb and samples of his DNA were used to create most of the others, and the leaders of the evil organization that control the Kaiju have Oni ancestry themselves]]
* Sylvan Mikorange in the ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh TCG'', who happens to be an anthropomorphic orange Shinto priestess.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' - Reimu Hakurei and Sanae Kochiya, both of whom wear somewhat non-traditional, heavily customized miko outfits[[note]]Reimu's was more traditional-looking in the PC98 era, and gradually acquired various frills and other modifications between the early the PC games[[/note]]; while Reimu's outfit at least keeps the traditional red and white color scheme, Sanae wears ''blue'' and white.
** Not to be confused with the final boss of ''Ten Desires'', whose ''name'' is Miko (the kanji for that name translating to either "saint" or "divine child").
* The ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow'' games feature love interest Mina Hakuba.
* The title of "[[TheChosenOne Chosen]] of {{Mana}}" in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' is "Miko" in the original Japanese. The position has religious connotations, although it's more of a CrystalDragonJesus religion than anything to do with Shinto.
** Similarly, the final class of [[SquishyWizard Micaiah]] from ''Franchise/FireEmblem: Radiant Dawn'' is called Miko in the Japanese version (But it's read as "Shaman" as a ContinuityNod to ''Genealogy of Holy War''.), though the only Miko-ish things about it are her usage of Light Magic and the color scheme being mostly white and red. And she loses [[FetishFuel her pantyhose]].
* Nanami from ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile''. Hey, if vampires are running around in Norse mythology, why not mikos? Nanami takes a ''really'' wrong turn in the afterlife and ends up in Valhalla.
* Katsumi from ''Website/GaiaOnline'', who tends the Shrine at the local {{Wutai}}.
* Sayo-chan (a.k.a. Pocky) from the ''VideoGame/KikiKaiKai'' / ''Pocky & Rocky'' series of CuteEmUp games.
* Mikado in ''VideoGame/BushidoBlade''.
* Maori from ''VideoGame/ArcanaHeart''. She has three miko sisters who fight with her, too.
* The ''VideoGame/FatalFrame'' series have Shrine Maidens with similar, albeit [[DarkerAndEdgier darker]] roles.
** From the first game there were the Rope Shrine Maidens chosen to be [[HumanSacrifice sacrificed]], in a rather atrocious way, in order to prevent the ''HellGate'' from opening.
** The second, ''Crimson Butterfly'', had the [[CreepyTwins Twin]] Shrine Maidens, [[spoiler:one of them was supposed to sacrifice the other to, guess what, prevent the hell gate from opening]]
** The third, ''The Tormented'', had [[FourIsDeath four]] Handmaidens, also known as Pacifiers in Europe and Japan, that wore full miko attires and performed daily shrine and housekeeping activities, as well as helping and eventually [[spoiler:impaling]] the Tattooed Priestess, another kind of Shrine Maidens chosen because they experienced the pain of losing a loved one. They had the pain of others tattooed in their skins [[spoiler:and were sacrificed to prevent the Rift, an infernal force, from spilling into the dreams of the living.]]
** The fourth, ''[[NoExportForYou Mask of the Lunar Eclipse]]'', game there were the Kanade and the Utsuwa who performed the Rougetsu Kagura ritual to worship the [[TotalEclipseOfThePlot lunar eclipse]] [[spoiler:and summon the gate to the other world so that the souls of the deceased could pass on, of course, things go terribly wrong and the ritual fails.]]. It also includes the Tsukimori Shrine Maidens.
* Torahime from ''VideoGame/MuramasaTheDemonBlade'' WAS a Miko in charge of protecting Muramasa. But she is [[DeathByOriginStory killed before the start of he story]] and [[BackFromTheDead comes back]] as a [[LadyOfWar horse-riding lady samurai]] [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge to avenge her family]].
* ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden'' has a couple of miko: Kureha, who tends the shrine that houses the [[SwordOfPlotAdvancement Ninja Dragon Sword]], and Momiji, her sister. Kureha is little more than a DisposableWoman who is barely in the game for two minutes, existing solely so that Ryu can start his RoaringRampageOfRevenge, but Momiji is a LadyOfWar through and through, using inherited ninjutsu skills to fight rival clans.
* Mizuki Rashojin from the second ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown'' is a rare [[SinisterMinister villainous]] Miko, who uses her ''gohei'' as a [[AbsurdlySharpBlade sharp]] weapon and has a demonic CanineCompanion to assist in the fight. [[spoiler:However if you manage to beat her with Kyoshiro, instead of killing her it turns out that Kyoshiro had in fact exorcised her from her host Bizuki, a genuinely kind {{miko}} who fell victim to DemonicPossession that took place when a purification ritual she performed didn't go as planned.]]
* Not a character, but ''VideoGame/ManaKhemiaAlchemistsOfAlRevis'' has a costume clearly based on the miko. Amazingly, the recipe to making this costume is in the hands of the resident CuteGhostGirl.
* Utsuki and Kureha from ''VideoGame/{{Kuon}}'', kinda. They are the daughters of the shrine, wear red and white robes, and know how to use {{Onmyodo}}, but they are not referred to as Miko.
* [[RedOniBlueOni Cloche and Luca]] from ''VideoGame/ArTonelico2''. They are not called "miko" or "shrine maiden" in the [[TranslationTrainWreck US release]], but you will hear them referred as such in the Japanese version.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' has Princess Himi, whose default classes all have "Miko" in their names. Oh, and she has the classic red and white outfit as well.
** The [[VideoGame/GoldenSun previous games]] have two mythological-based summons that carries this image [[SadlyMythtaken (despite how inaccurate it is to the original)]], [[AztecMythology Coatlicue]] and [[TheOdyssey Ulysses]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}'' gives us Miko Cho, whose name should indicate that she is a Miko. [[spoiler: Kagu]] also becomes one, in order to fight off King Fury.
* Yuna from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' isn't a miko, but she has a very important place at her temple and her outfit - with its plain white top, long drapey white sleeves, large bow at the back, and long, pleated skirt - is clearly based on a miko outfit.
* ''{{Mousehunt}}'' has the Sacred Shrine Mouse, a mouse with a shrine maiden outfit, talismans and gohei.
* ''PhantomBreaker'''s Waka Kumon. She is armed with a "Fu-mantion Artifact" (a type of powerful spiritual weapon, in her case, a naginata) and is part of a long line of demon hunters who have been charged with taking down an entity named "Phantom."
* Chizuru and Maki Kagura from TheKingOfFighters are Shinto priestesses and the heiresses of a very traditional heroic clan that helps keep {{Orochi}} sealed. Sinee Maki is a PosthumousCharacter, the one we see doing the work is Chizuru; in fact, you can have Kyo drop by her temple in KOF:KYO.
* The Reimu Look-a-likes in ''[[VideoGame/{{Something}} Something Else]]''. Their village is under attack by mischievous ghosts, and their leader went missing.
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[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Rika Furude in ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' is a shrine maiden for a slightly peculiar branch of Shinto that includes [[spoiler:simulated disembowelment and cannibalism]] in its ceremonies.
* Itsuki in ''VisualNovel/{{Suika}}'', though eventually she realizes that there's no way she could be since she doesn't do the rituals and doesn't remember becoming one. [[spoiler: She has been DeadAllAlong.]]
* ''VisualNovel/YuminaTheEthereal'' gives us the sisters Youko and Tsukuyo Sakaue, with one that is a {{Seer}}.
* Ruka Urushibara of ''VisualNovel/SteinsGate'' is a subversion; he works at his family's shrine and dresses in the traditional manner, but [[DudeLooksLikeALady isn't a girl at all]]. [[spoiler:Double subverted when he's able to use time travel to cross into a world line where he is a girl; then triple subverted when the consequences of the timeline alterations require them to be undone.]]
[[/folder]]

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