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Business trends

Japan's cash-strapped temples try their hand at tourism

As donations dwindle, foreign visitors offer a new source of much-needed income

Guests at Ekoin, a temple in Wakayama Prefecture, can take part in meditation and observe Goma fire ritual, with guidance provided in English.

Even holy places have bills to pay, and with traditional sources of income rapidly shrinking, temples in Japan are looking to tourism to make ends meet.

To cash in on the recent surge in overseas visitors to the country, a number of temples are offering experiences and amenities tailored to foreign tastes. 

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