The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting many aspects of life – including religious worship. These disturbances are now impacting Japanese Shinto rituals, with some shrines coming up with interesting workarounds. One shrine is offering limited-edition credit cards blessed by a Shinto priest. Interested? Here is what you need to know:
Coronavirus Upsetting Religious Tradition in Japan
The coronavirus pandemic is putting a halt to traditional Shinto rituals in Japan. Hatsumode is a widely observed Japanese tradition relating to the first shrine visit of the new year. The practice typically occurs during the first three days of the new year, but lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions have made it difficult this year.
While some shrines began selling talismans and keepsakes in November to allow people to pay their respects to tradition while remaining socially distant, one particular location is taking this a step further by offering blessed credit cards.
Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture is offering special, limited-edition credit cards blessed by a Shinto priest. Each card is both cleansed and blessed by a priest from the shrine, ensuring good fortune for the ensuing year.
Why Consider Blessed Credit Cards in Japan?
These unique credit cards are issued through Micard, a Japanese credit card issuer, and are unique to the shrine. Worshippers can select from three distinct designs, with all membership fees and points earned throughout the year donated to Kashima Shrine.
Beyond the donations to the shrine, the credit cards offer holders free access to restricted shrine sections, plus access to the Kashima Shrine Treasure Museum.
Shinto is an ancient Japanese religion that is often regarded as the nation’s indigenous faith. The religion is based on nature spirits, or kami, that are believed to inhabit all things. Shinto is Japan’s most popular religion, and there are approximately 100,000 public Shinto shrines in the country.
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