One shinto shrine is making news around Japan for dressing their miko in a garment many had never seen before.
New Year’s is the busiest time of year for Shinto shrines around the country. With constant crowds lining up to offer up their first prayers of the year, queues of worshippers also huddle around buildings where young female shrine maidens sell special amulets and omikuji fortunes, which are important purchases to help herald luck and fortune into family homes.
While these shrine maidens, or miko, are known for their striking costumes, which consist of a white robe and red skirt-like hakama pants, the girls at one shrine in Osaka made news recently for adding a very different type of garment to their traditional outfits.
えびす娘めっちゃ楽しかった*･゜ﾟ･*:.｡..｡.:*･'(*ﾟ▽ﾟ*)'･*:.｡. .｡.:*･゜ﾟ･* http://t.co/8HTszqzTad—
あいこ (@aikoo0369) January 11, 2014
These miko appeared at Osaka’s Imamiya Ebisu-jinja, a shrine that welcomes more than a million people each year, who come to pray to Ebisu, the god of fishermen, food, crops, and business and commercial prosperity.
During the shrine’s recent Toka Ebisu Festival, held from 9 – 11 January, worshippers noticed that the miko here were wearing a different white robe than usual. Instead of being made from stiff cotton, it had a softer, warmer look to it, with cuffs around the wrists, and a familiar logo on the sleeve.
The robe was designed by Montbell, a Japanese company that manufactures outdoor apparel and goods like tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and hiking shoes. Seeing the logo of the famous outdoor label on the robes of shrine maidens was a surprise for many worshippers, but according to shrine staff, they chose to wear the apparel after they formed a relationship with the Osaka-born company. While this particular robe was initially made for the staff at Imamiya Ebisu-jinja, or “Ebessan” as it’s known by locals, Montbell actually produces a line of other outerwear that’s perfect for people working at temples and shrines across the country.
▼ Montbell knows how to cater to the needs of its local customers.
よろづ屋TOM☆この世界の片隅に は必見 (@yolozyaTOM) January 11, 2017
Thanks to the outdoor brand, the women, and men, at the shrine were able to stay warm despite working outdoors during the cold winter nights.
For a closer look at this year’s festivities, and the girls showing off their warm Montbell robes, take a look at this short video below:
With so many festivals and events taking place at holy sites around the country during the cold nights of autumn and winter, we’re sure it’s only a matter of time before this new costume trend catches on around the country. If you want to find out what it feels like to dress like a shrine maiden at home, though, this miko outfit is one we can all enjoy!