Electronic donations in a Japanese shintoist shrine

At the shintoist shrine of Atago (Tokyo, Minato-ku) they have installed a system that allows the visitors to donate money using their electronic wallets. Usually, at Japanese shrines there is a big wooden box where the visitors throw coins as a donation before praying. The word in Japanese for this box is saisenbako 賽銭箱 (sai 賽: offering to the gods, sen 銭: money, bako 箱: box). This is how a typical saisenbako looks like:

These boxes are big because originally people offered rice to the kami (gods) instead of coins like nowadays. The system installed at the Atago shrine has a keyboard where you type the number that you want to donate and then touch with electronic device on the sensor at the right side.


Left: electronic version. Right: traditional wooden seisenbako.

Via ANN News.

Atago Shrine location

Bathing in a free access rotenburo

Rotenburo 露天風呂 are outdoor hot-spring water baths. Usually, you pay an entrance that will give you access to the bathing area. An onsen 温泉 (Hot-spring) dedicated business, a hotel or a ryokan are most of the times managing the baths. But if you go to remote areas, sometimes you can find baths in the wild where you can just get naked and soak in warm water for free. Bathing in onsen waters is one of my favorite things to do in Japan, especially after a nice hike.

This is the exact google maps location (Shin hotaka yu, 新穂高の湯) (Gifu Prefecture) of the bath we found.

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Japanese sweet

Japanese sweets keep fascinating me. It is more about the wrapping, the colours and the shape than the flavour. Each unit feels special. I got this sweet from a colleague who travelled to Kaga.

Buying a present (Omiyage お土産) for the colleagues in your team at work when travelling is a very ingrained tradition in Japan. It doesn’t need to be something special, it is ok to just bring one cookie or sweet for each member. I have the feeling that the main purpose of this omiyage tradition is to help make small-talk in the office. The act of giving a cookie to each of the people working with you is an opportunity to talk about things unrelated to work.

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