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

1 Comment
  • Noa A.

    January 28, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Hi Hector,

    I love your blogposts and the pictures you take (and actually just figured out I can follow you through newsletters!).

    I’m a big fan of shrines myself but never saw anything like this!
    It’s great how they use current technology while maintaining their old culture customs so well.

    Just a quick question, I am aware that Japan is a cash country, is there any reason they put Rakuten’s Eddy-system like this the shrine?