Japan’s ancient temples bid for foreign tourists as Japanese lose interest

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The 13th Century Eiheiji temple in Japan has teamed up with a Tokyo skyscraper builder to seek the commercial enlightenment of foreign tourist dollars. Picture taken October 14, 2015.    REUTERS/Junko Fujita

The 13th Century Eiheiji temple in Japan has teamed up with a Tokyo skyscraper builder to seek the commercial enlightenment of foreign tourist dollars. Picture taken October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Junko Fujita

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A remote monastery that once attracted Steve Jobs's attention now hopes construction of a nearby hotel could encourage international visitors.

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  • Larry

    A little background. This story is being reported on New Year’s Day because it is Japan’s biggest religious holiday. People flock to Shinto/Buddhist shrines for the New Year as a matter of tradition and to wish for good luck in the coming year.

    So the lack of visitors to these shrines is sorely felt this time of year.

  • Ben in oakland

    It never changes, does it? gOd always needs money.

    And yet, you will almost NEVER, ever see a priest going hungry.

  • Larry

    In all fairness the urge to attract foreign tourists mean the concern for the temples and shrines as houses of worship is taking a backseat to the appeal as ancient historical/cultural sites. Money to the shrines meaning tourist money to the rural towns involved. Food vendors, lodging and souvenir shops are ubiquitous to areas near shrines and temples. You are talking about nice looking buildings which are several centuries old in many places that locals dont want to go seed.

  • Douglas Clifford

    I first visited Eiheiji in 1998. There was even an electric railway line from Fukui, now, sadly gone, to be replaced by unglamorous buses (October 2014). However, the monastery itself is wonderful, and all the things you’d expect from a Zen monastery. If I was younger and fitter, I’d be there tomorrow.

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