Japan Photo Journal: Drawing fortune for New Year without virus concern


mainichi– Women look at a panel showing how to obtain “omikuji” paper fortunes through a new system adopted at Ikuta Shrine in Kobe’s Chuo Ward in this recent photo. As part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among visitors during the New Year season, the shrine began the new service in which visitors scan a QR code with a smartphone and tell the number appearing on their phone to shrine maidens. Based on that number, the maidens then hand over an omikuji paper for a fee of 300 yen (about $2.88). In normal times, visitors would draw a numbered stick from a cylindrical case full of them. But the shrine decided to do away with the container this year because many people would touch it, creating a coronavirus transmission risk. It instead moved the cylinder online, which appears as an illustration on visitors’ smartphones when they scan a QR code from any one of four panels set up on the grounds. If they tap on the cylinder icon, a randomly generated number appears on their screen, and they can pick up their fortune.