Culture · Japanese Culture · Travel

Nerdy Travels: Goshuinchō

One of the coolest things about my trips to Japan have been discovering unique souvenirs which you can buy and collect in Japan. There are so many things that are so special and unique in Japan and I love being able to take a piece of that home with me.

The shrine and temple signature book is something really cool and special in terms of Japanese souvenirs. The Japanese name for these books are ‘Goushuincho’ which translates to ‘a book of seals’. The shuin part of the name relates to the actual seal stamp and the idea of the book is act as proof of visiting whichever temple or shrine you may have visited.

If you’re planning a visit to Japan and wish to buy and collect this book as a souvenir then the first thing you should know is that these books are special. Any old book cannot be used for the stamps so you can purchase the specific books everywhere in Japan. These books can be purchased for around 1,500 yen in many shrines and temples as well as souvenir shops. They are hundreds of designs available to choose from ranging from traditional woodblock style artwork to cute cats.

My book happens to be an anime themed one because well, it’s me and everything has to relate to anime is some way.

I bought this book from the famous Love Live Shrine in Akihabara. The actual name of the shrine is the Kanda shrine but it’s mainly known for its use in the Love Live! School Idol Project anime as Nozomi works as a shrine maiden there. The little illustration of Nozomi in the corner is so adorable and I was thrilled when I found that they had made a Love Live book just for that shrine. Japan really knows how to lure in the otaku! The book also came with a plastic sleeve to keep it protected.

Not all shrines and temples do these stamps. The smaller more obscure located shrines and such usually don’t have these available but most of the main shrine and temple spots do them. That being said, if you want to collect these stamps then always look out for shrines or temples in the areas you visit as there are so many stamps to collect. Shrine stamps usually cost between 300 to 600 yen. Most of the ones I got were a standard price of 300 yen and it takes a few minutes for the staff to write out the stamp and usually you can see them doing the process which I found so cool to watch. Stamps are stamped on the paper using red ink and the black ink is done in what looked like a traditional calligraphy style.

A select few of the stamps I collected:

Shrine stamp book
My first stamp from Kanda shrine.

img_1280Shrine stampShrine stamp from JapanShrine Stamp

I filled up half of my book on my first trip in 2017 and then during my 2018 trip I was determined to completely fill the rest of the book. I cannot remember which shrines and temples I collected all of my stamps from. I know the very first one was from Kanda shrine and my last one was at the shrine next to Sensoji temple but other than that it’s a mystery for me.

Shrine stamp from Sensoji temple
The final shrine stamp of my book! It has cute foxes on it!!

This is such a unique souvenir and I’m so happy to own one myself. The fact that every book will be completely different in terms of style and the stamps you collect is such a nice thought and it’s a fun project to try to complete when travelling in Japan. Maybe next time I’ll buy another one and collect even more!

Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!

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