When foreigners come to Japan they’re immediately enthralled with the beautiful temples and shrines they encounter here. Japan has two main cultural/religious traditions which coexist side-by-side and which fill different roles for people as they go through their lives. The first is Shinto, which finds kami (spirits or gods) in things like trees or mountains and which is tied to happy life events like weddings, celebrating newborn babies or the arrival of a new year. The other tradition is Buddhism, which was imported through China and Korea and which today is mostly related to funerals and honoring family members who have gone on. While you probably can’t remember the last time you saw an anime that was steeped in solemn Buddhist themes (Buddhist statue gags in Nichijou notwithstanding), you can probably think of several that feature Shinto shrines and characters wearing the trademark garb of miko Shrine Maidens. This is because Shinto seems inherently more “happy” and is more likely to find its way into popular culture and thus is more visible to us, while Buddhism is far more difficult for us to access. Incidentally, May 5th happens to be Miko-no-Hi or “Shrine Maiden Day,” because “3-5” sounds like mi-ku to the Japanese. If you happen to see a Shrine Maiden, give her a hug.
March 5 is Shrine Maiden day.