• Kyodo

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The offering boxes at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward were opened Saturday for the traditional counting of money contributed by the faithful over the first three days of the new year.

Offerings from some 50 collection boxes within the shrine’s grounds were taken to the shrine’s main office to be counted by 15 bank employees at 9 a.m. The task is expected to take about five days.

According to shrine officials, the total collected — which is never made public — over the three days has continued to fall in recent years.

People worship at the shrine in the belief it will bring brisk business. Some offerings were made in the form of checks with figures that can be pronounced in an auspicious way, like “2,951 yen” whose numbers can be pronounced “fukukoi,” meaning “Come, good fortune.”

“We’ve had those sort of checks in the past, but they usually had one more zero on them,” a shrine official said.

The shrine reported that some 2.76 million people, roughly the same as last year, visited the shrine during the three-day period.

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