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Collect Seal Stamps From Japanese Temples And Shrines

Collect Seal Stamps From Japanese Temples And Shrines

2016.06.05 Bookmark

If you like visiting temples and shrines, you should try collecting goshuin - seal stamps that are unique to each temple or shrine. It will make your trip even more fun!

Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe

Written by Eriko Mikami

There are many temples and shrines in Japan, and each is unique in its own way. When coming to Japan, you will want to visit not just one but many of them and enjoy noticing the differences. If you do so, collecting goshuin - unique seal stamps of those temples and shrines - will make your visits even more fun!

What are "Goshuin"?

A goshuin is a seal stamp which proves that you visited a certain temple or shrine. The stamp has the name of the temple or shrine and the date you visited, making it a perfect souvenir. It was originally a stamp people received as proof of Buddhist sutra training, but now anyone can get one for just visiting.

The design of each goshuin differs depending on the temple or shrine. Some are simple, some have dramatic brushstrokes and some even have cute animals on them. Each seal stamp is unique.

How Do I Get a Goshuin?

In order to get a seal stamp from temples and shrines, first, you will need to get yourself a goshuin-chō. This is something like a notebook for collecting seal stamps. These are sold at many temples and shrines, for about 1000-1500 yen. Goshuin-chō notebooks also have different designs depending on the temple or shrine, so you will surely find one that you like.

A goshuin is a stamp that proves you visited, so once you have a goshuin-chō, next you will need to visit a shrine or temple. When you get to the shrine or temple of your choice, look for a spot where they sell talismans, charms and fortune telling papers, or a place called Shuinjo, or where you can receive your seal stamp. Here, simply open up your goshuin-chō to the page you want your stamp and hand it to the staff.

If you can't find the spot, try showing this article to the attendants or staff of the temple or shrine.

If it's crowded, you might get a number ticket so that your goshuin-chō doesn't get mixed up with someone else's. You will probably have to wait 5-10 minutes, and the price is usually about 300 yen.

Let's Collect Goshuin Stamps

On a goshuin stamp you get from a temple, you will usually see the name of the particular Buddha worshiped there. For example, at Matsuchiyama Shōden in Asakusa, you can receive the goshuin of Daishō Kangiten, the God of Bliss, and Bishamonten, one of the Shichifukujin (Seven Lucky Gods), who is the God of Fortune in Battles.

On the other hand, the goshuin stamps that you get from shrines are simpler, often just featuring the name of the shrine itself. However, what is unique about goshuin from some shrines is that they may have stamp designs related to the shrine's particular history. At Asakusa Shrine for example, two fishermen brothers are worshiped as guardian deities, so the stamp represents a net.

Hikan Inari Shrine, inside Asakusa Shrine, has a stamp of a fox because it is an Inari Shrine. Also, the home of the maneki neko, Imado Shrine has a seal stamp with cats. Finding unique stamps is part of the fun of collecting goshuin.

It goes without saying that you can collect seal stamps not just in Asakusa, but at temples and shrines throughout Japan. You're sure to make some unforgettable memories while being drawn into the beauty of various Japanese temples and shrines.

Information

Matsuchiyama Shōden

Address: Tokyo, Taito, Asakusa 7-4-1
Hours: April-September 6:00-16:30, October-March 6:30-16:30
Closed: -
Wi-Fi: -
Credit cards: -
Languages: Japanese
Menus in other languages: -
Nearest station: Asakusa station
Access: 10-minute walk from Asakusa station of Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line, Tōbu Skytree Line
Price range: -
Religion: Shintō
Phone number: +81-3-3874-2030
Homepage: Matsuchiyama Shōden (Japanese)

Asakusa Shrine
Address: Tokyo, Taito, Asakusa 2-3-1
Hours: 9:00-16:30
Closed: -
Wi-Fi: -
Credit cards: -
Languages: Japanese
Menus in other languages: -
Nearest station: Asakusa station
Access: 7-minute walk from Asakusa station of Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line, Tōbu Skytree Line
Price range: -
Religion: Shintō
Phone number: +81-3-3844-1575
Homepage: Asakusa Shrine

Imado Shrine
Address: Tokyo, Taito, Imado 1-5-22
Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: -
Wi-Fi: -
Credit cards: -
Languages: Japanese
Menus in other languages: -
Nearest station: Asakusa station
Access: 15-minute walk from Asakusa station of Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line, Tōbu Skytree Line
Price range: -
Religion: Shintō
Phone number: +81-3-3872-2703
Homepage: Imado Shrine (Japanese)

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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