The tradition of sending "nengajo," or New Year's postcards, has been in decline as people turn to the Internet, social networking and digital gadgets like smartphones instead of putting pen to paper.

Japan Post Co., the postal arm of government-owned Japan Post Holdings Co., is thus hoping to get younger generations interested in writing paper greeting cards this year by introducing a digital feature known as augmented reality, or AR.

"Young people are using smartphones now, and we hope to attract them to the New Year's greeting card tradition through those smartphones," said Hiroyuki Sugita, senior manager at logistics and sales at Japan Post.