Japanese Temple & Shrine Stamp book (Go-Shuin-Cho, 御朱印帳)

Temple and Shrine Stamp Book
Temple and Shrine Stamp Book

Japanese stamp books are a fun way to visit Japanese historic sites and provide lasting memories of your adventures. Mine comes from Zenko-ji temple in Nagano prefecture. This temple is very famous around Nagano and was even visited by the Dalai Lama. Since 2012, I have accumulated several stamps of temple and shrines I have visited. Each stamp indicates the date of visit and the kanji’s of the shrine. If you get yourself a stamp book, I strongly suggest you always keep it with you, you never know when you’ll stumble on a shrine in Japan! It is also perhaps a good idea to write the place’s name if you do not have Japanese among your friends to remind you later, unless you read Kanji of course!

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Gaijin San

Since my better half is Japanese I often have the chance to travel to Japan. I grew fond over time of this magnificent country. I thought of sharing with you some places worth visiting in this little but growing travel guide to Japan. I try to show with images what I can't express with words. I hope you may find here some inspiration! For those who wonder, I chose the moniker Gaijin-San after being called like this by a waitress at a grilled eel restaurant. "Gaijin" means foreigner and "San" is a honorific suffix in Japanese.

2 thoughts on “Japanese Temple & Shrine Stamp book (Go-Shuin-Cho, 御朱印帳)”

  1. Hey Gaijin,

    My itinerary is almost complete.
    I have put everything on a Subway map, so I know what sights I can see the same day, and I should have time to visit both Hakone and the Snow Monkeys and try to go to a club/disco one night haha.
    Now I would also like to visiti some shrines and this stamp book is a nice token of remembrance.

    These stamps are custom made right? That sure is some craftmanship.
    That would mean that at every shrine there is someone who creates these stamps all day long?

    Can I buy these at the shrines themself?

    Much obliged,

    Thomas

    1. Hi Thomas,

      Yes the stamps are custom made. The red parts are usually stamped in but the black is real Japanese calligraphy made with a brush in front of you. The service is provided during opening hours of the shrine and the stamp is made live in front of you. I suppose that most shrines and temples sell the book itself. The books may not be always visible on display so make sure to remember the name or bring a picture of mine with you. There is usually a place where souvenirs and lucky charms are sold, it is easily recognisable, and some employee usually waits there. You may ask “Go-Shuin-Cho arimasu-ka?”. Once you have the book, you can show it at other shrines and they will automatically understand what you want!

      Sounds like you planned an awesome trip to Japan!

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