A 御朱印 (goshuin) is a specific kind of stamp that you can get at temples across Japan. They usually cost ￥３００, and every temple’s stamp is a little different, making them lots of fun to collect! I really regret not having one when I studied abroad; Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara would’ve been great places to get some awesome stamps! All of them have the date you got the stamp and the name of the temple beautifully hand written; everything else can change depending on where you got it. Some have smaller stamps showing unique statues and things from the temple, others have Buddhist sayings.
The book to collect them can be found at temples where the stamps are offered, or at souvenir shops. They all look different as well – make sure to pick one with a design you like! Other than that, they are all built the same way. They fold out like an accordion, so you can unfold it and see all your stamps at once. You can also get decorative bands to wrap around the book to keep it closed.
I got my book from Zenkōji, one of the most important temples in Nagano Prefecture. They had a couple of different designs, but I liked this one the best. My first stamp is also from Zenkōji! They had about six different stamps to choose from, and I randomly chose number two. Once I was done paying, the lady behind the counter said, “we are about to make it; you can come inside and watch if you’d like!” I swear my eyes were as big as saucers. I gleefully went inside to a small counter, where an old-woman monk was sitting. She smiled at me, probably amused by how excited I looked, and proceeded to write. It was so much fun to watch! Once she was done, she grabbed the red stamps and stamped them over her writing before handing it back with a bow and a smile.
Date received: August 8th, 2017
Since that first stamp, I have collected stamps from nine other temples. I’ll upload them once a week, along with where I got them!