Photo/IllutrationVisitors to Nikko Futarasanjinja shrine can scan a QR code displayed at a sign to make donations. (Takashi Kajiyama)

NIKKO, Tochigi Prefecture--Historic Nikko Futarasanjinja here is moving with the times by becoming the nation’s first Shinto shrine to cater to Chinese tourists accustomed to not using cash by accepting worshipers’ offerings electronically.

Nikko Futarasanjinja, part of the famed UNESCO World Heritage site in the city, decided to adopt the electronic payment system after receiving a flurry of inquiries from Chinese visitors about the arrangement.

“Adopting the electronic payment is a trend of the times,” said shrine official Yoshifumi Saito. “We are hoping to revitalize Nikko with part of the money offered.”

The shrine said it is becoming increasingly common in mainland China and Hong Kong to make donations electronically.

According to the Association of Shinto Shrines, some shrines in Tokyo have used electronic payment systems temporarily to deal with hordes of New Year worshipers making wishes, but it has never heard of a shrine permanently equipped to allow visitors to make cashless offerings.

Nikko Futarasanjinja has set up vermillion lacquered signs with a QR code and explanations in Chinese, Korean and English next to collection boxes placed at nine locations on the shrine premises, including near the main hall.

When visitors scan the QR code with a smartphone, they can download the shrine’s app and choose how much money to give.

Payments are settled through Alipay, China’s leading online and mobile payment service, and other service providers.

The introduction of the electronic payment system is also expected to benefit the shrine because it will no longer need to convert the Chinese currency thrown into the offertory boxes into Japanese money.