Goshuincho!

Hi all, today I will be writing about Goshuincho, a hobby addiction unhealthy obsession I picked up when I arrived in Japan!

Since Japan is full of shrines, it’s very easy to visit one even if you’re going out for a walk or when you’re shopping. At Japanese shrines you can enjoy the scenery, pray, buy souvenirs and other nifty things…

…such as getting an exclusive handwritten stamp from the priest/priestess!

I learned about Goshuin when I went to my first temple in Nara. My friend told me about it and I had no idea what she was going on about until we arrived at the train station and she showed me a book for sale which is used to collect Goshuin. It’s a special kind of book, which is usually A5 in size and is a hardback, although the covers vary. The paper folds and opens out like the way a fan kind of does, so not like a normal book, either.

Goshuin are collected in Goshuincho (below), which usually cost from 1000 to 1500 yen, or more. Since the covers vary, you have a lot of choice! Sometimes temples have their own seal books for sale too.

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Anyway, every temples will offer Goshuin, except some of the smaller ones. Goshuin is a proof of pilgrimage and you usually pay 300 yen, as a donation to the temple. The most expensive Goshuin I paid for was 600 yen, because after I got the stamp, the priestess also used this flint and rock and gave my page a spark as part of the stamp. It was at Himuro shrine.

Therefore, each Goshuin is different which makes it so unique and interesting and because there are TONNES of shrines in Japan, it makes it all the while to visit them and collect the shuin 🙂

I became rather obsessed with collecting Goshuin, and during my time in Japan, I completed 3 books. I have a fourth book, which is unfortunately incomplete.

When you go to the temple, you might see a sign for Goshuin, which will look like along the lines like this – 朱印 – then you give your book to the priest/priestess and they will write the seal for you.

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Have your book open for them so its ready, then they will stamp (usually) three red stamps on the page – one in the top, middle and bottom. All stamps will be different depending on the temple! The priest/priestess will write the temple’s name, the day of the visit and ‘hohai’ (ie. ‘pray respectfully’) in the top right.

Sometimes, temples have more than 1 seal, so for example, I got 5 from Chionin temple in Kyoto. Neat!

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Here are some of my Goshuin. I aim to get more….

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Thanks for reading!

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