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Japan’s temples flip to social media, video streaming and apps to lure visitors

Temples across the united states of america, consisting of inside the Chugoku region, are increasingly turning to cellular apps, videos, and social media to entice traffic.

Some temples even offer an app that provides up points each time individual visits, while others live stream Buddhist services for humans unable to attend in person.

The Nichiren sect of Buddhism unveiled a loose app called Gassho no Akashi, which translates roughly as Proof of Putting Palm to Palm in Prayer, in November.

The app lists the sect’s temples and how to get entry to them. When a user visits one of the temples in person and clicks at the button to test in on the app, mileage points are introduced and images of the main temple and others seem.

Five factors are provided for a primary-time go to to a temple. A point is delivered if the man or woman visits the identical temple again. Points can be exchanged for items — prayer beads for 1,500 factors, ¥1,000 really worth of prepaid playing cards or incense sticks for 800 points and a cell cellphone strap for three hundred points.

About five,000 Nichiren-sect temples may be searched at the app, inclusive of 76 in Hiroshima Prefecture, 36 in Yamaguchi Prefecture, 163 in Okayama Prefecture, 67 in Shimane Prefecture and 40 in Tottori Prefecture.

A 35-yr-vintage lady office employee from Naka Ward, Hiroshima, who earned factors at Kokuzen Temple in Higashi Ward stated it turned into her first time visiting the temple.

“I noticed the app and I was amazed to research there are many Nichiren-sect temples around my residence,” she said.

Yoshiaki Okamoto, a 72-yr-antique priest at Kentoku Temple in the metropolis of Miyoshi, Hiroshima Prefecture, hopes the app will spark interest in temples located in depopulated regions.

The app becomes created as a part of the 800th anniversary, in 2021, of the start of the priest whose teachings shape the sect’s basis.

“I would really like to elevate the degree of reputation of Nichiren-sect temples in the area,” said Koetsu Watanabe, a 54-12 months-old priest at Myofu Temple in Naka Ward and the leader of a Nichiren sect prefectural temple workplace. “I hope many younger humans will go to the temples to offer prayers.”

More temples are live streaming their spiritual services, which include Saifuku-Ji, a temple from the Jodo Shinshu sect, inside the metropolis of Higashihiroshima. It is focused on followers who’ve an issue traveling the temple for numerous reasons, which includes the elderly.

The temple commenced the streaming service in 2012. In 2014 it created an account on YouTube and has uploaded videos of sermons by means of guest teachers from around the country. So far, about 50 sermons were uploaded. Those movies were regarded about eight,500 times.
“I would like to deepen the connections with followers who’re unable to go to for numerous motives,” stated Akira Negoro, the temple’s 46-yr-old priest. “By protective the historical past however attempting some thing new, I hope the initiative will pique young people’s hobby.”

Shosei Sugawara, a 60-12 months-vintage priest at Sairaku Temple in Oda, Shimane Prefecture, who turned into invited to Saifuku as a guest lecturer final April, stated he was nervous wondering that humans outside the temple would be taking note of his sermon.

“But I am grateful it made extra connections with humans,” he said.

Many temples also upload pictures of spiritual occasions from season to season.

Saizen-Ji, a temple positioned in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, as an instance, posts photos of unique celebrations, inclusive of a marketplace proposing self-made goods every fall, on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“I would really like to sell the temple’s enchantment by way of making statistics available,” said Kumiko Yoneda, a 44-year-vintage dad or mum of the temple. “I need humans to know that everybody is welcome at temples, where human beings can get peace of thoughts through worshiping the Buddha.”