The term shrine maiden (巫女 miko), also called a shaman, refers specifically to altar girls of the Shinto religion. They live and work in a Shinto shrine. Shrine maidens are generally virgins and take various rites of purity and chastity, and undergo various forms of physical and mental training. They also practice sealing and purification rituals, which are highly form-based and symbolic, and are used to bless, purify, or exorcise vengeful spirits.
A shrine maiden's iconic ritual implement is a wand with elaborately folded paper on the end, known as a Gohei. Reimu's gohei is called the purification rod (御祓い棒). Other common tools are small, rectangular paper amulets called o-fuda, on which the names of gods are calligraphically inscribed.
Characters under this Bestiary
- Not original to Touhou
- Izunome (One of the Shinto purification gods, depicted in Touhou as a miko)
In Chapter 23 of Wild and Horned Hermit, Kasen Ibaraki would temporarily act as a stand-in for Reimu Hakurei at the Hakurei Shrine.