June 10, 2019
It is believed to be a first among temples in Japan.
A temple in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture, recently launched a system allowing visitors to make offerings of money using cashless payment apps on their smartphones.
Kokawadera temple — No. 3 on the 33-temple Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage route, spanning the Kinki region and Gifu Prefecture — introduced the system in response to the growing popularity of cashless payment services among young people and foreign tourists.
Visitors simply scan QR codes displayed on offertory boxes and choose the amount of money they want to give.
According to a temple official, the system was introduced in mid-March after a young temple visitor asked if it was possible to pay for an omamori amulet using a smartphone.
In addition to offering money, visitors can also pay for amulets using their smartphones.
However, the overwhelming majority of visitors still give offerings of cash. The official said that some people feel that using the cashless system lacks emotion. “When cashless payment services become more pervasive, it will probably start to feel more natural,” the official said.