Collect “Goshuin” From Shrines and Temples in Japan

When I was researching for the itinerary ideas, I came across something interesting. As mentioned before in the “Shinjuku_Harajuku_Shibuya Itinerary“, when you go visit temples and shrines in Japan you can get a unique stamp and calligraphy writing (Goshuin) on this booklet called “Goshuin-chou”.

What is “goshuin” ?

(Right) Bonjin, Dainichi Nyorai’s red seal & Shogo Edo Kawagoe Seven Lucky God, Shoin seal of Shonin (Left) Photo Credited to Rainbow Goblin  (Source)

  • Basically  goshuin in a unique stamp with in vermillion ink and accompanied with beautifully calligraphy. What is written is the temple’0s or shrine’s name, name of the deity that is worshipped at this particular place and date of visit. It is a proof of your visit.
  • In order to get goshuin you must get a goshuin-chou. A regular notebook or note will not do.

What is “goshuin-chou”?

Different Styles of Goshuinchou Photo Credit to Genbu.Net (Source)
  • Goshuin-chou  translate to ” Honorable notebook” this is what you will need in order to start collecting goshuin.
  • Where to Buy?:
    • Goshuin-cho can be purchase on site at the temples or shrines. Or at stationary stores and online.
    • The style of the goshuin-chou differs from each place. (Collecting goshuin-chou might also be fun too.)
Koyasan in Wakayama offers a wood covered temple book (goshuinchou). Photo Credit to JapanTravelCafe ( Source)
  • Cost: 1,000 – 2.000 yen
  • Has about 20- 40 pages
  • Both goshuin and goshuin-chou are both sacred so treat it accordingly.

Where can I get a  “goshuin”?

  • You can get goshuin at most temples and shrines throughout  Japan However, several schools in Japanese Buddhism, temples that belong to Jodo Shinshu (School of Pure Land) do not give goshuin.
  • If you have trouble locating WHERE in the temple or shrine to obtain goshuin look for these kanji.
  • In Buddhist temples you can obtain goshuin in places designated:
    • 御朱印所 (Goshuin jo)

    • 朱印所 (Shuin jo)

    • 納経所 (Nokyo jo)

  • In Shinto shrines you can obtain goshuin in places designated:
    • 授与所 (Juyo jo)

    •  社務所 (Shamu sho)

Rainbow Goblin Blog (Source)


Is it free to get a “goshuin” ?

  • The answer to this question is yes and no. Some temples and shrines do required a small donation of (300 yen – 5oo yen).

Helpful Phrases:

  1. (Goshuin wa doko de morae masuka?) Where can I get goshuin stamp?
  2. (Goshuin o onegai shimasu.) Please give me a goshuin stamp.

Manners to note when receiving GoshuinUnlike travel stamps, shuin has a religious meaning. That is why it is important to observe certain manners when receiving shuin.

  • First, you need to go to worship service.
  • Prepare exact amount of money.
  • You don’t buy a seal but rather receive it, so don’t forget to say thank you.
  • Goshuin is a proof of YOUR visit to the temple, so it should only belong to you; do not give it to other people. “

This part is credit to Japan Hopper. Click HERE to find our more about goshuin.

Now that you know have knowledge of what is goshuin. I want to tell you why I find it interesting. (Hopefully you feel the same way. ) Symbolically, it would be nice to have unique proof other than photos that you have visited these temples and shrines.  In the process of collecting the goshuin, you can learn about the god or deity that the temple or shrine worships.

For example :  Goshuin from Tsutsuji-oka Tenmanguu, enshrined god is Sugawara no Michizane, or Tenjin-sama, is a god of study. (Maybe you students out there might want to pray more to Tenjin-sama. A+A++)

You can even make into a game. A popular thing people do is fill their goshuinchou to a specific theme, such as the  “7 deities meguri / 7 lucky deities. Stamps are collected from temple and shrines if they are associated with these deities. Of course their are no rules to how you want collect goshuin. You the boss! 😀

So, definitely giving Goshuin collecting a try when you are in Japan. Buy a goshuin-chou early on during your shrines and temple visit so you do not miss out ones you have already visited.  Happy collecting ~





5 Comments Add yours

  1. What an informative piece! Thanks for sharing. This is a pricey collection. I’m quite happy with the freebie stamps all over Japan 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1DayinJapan says:

      Oh thank you! You just made my day! Freebie stamps? Are those the tourist stamps?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes 😀 they’re everywhere. In all JR stations, sometimes in convenient stores, and almost 100% Japanese tourism spot has at least one 😄

        Liked by 1 person

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