Collecting goshuin in ASAKUSA(November 11)

Thank you for choosing our tour in Asakusa on November 11. We welcomed 12 people from U.S.A., Australia New Zealand and Switzerland.

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The weather was sunny and very comfortable. It has become more and more like autumn. I hope all the guests enjoyed walking with us.

It may be part of fun of travel for you to collect stamps when you visit temples or shrines. The red ink seal is called ‘Goshuin’ which is given to the worshipers at a temple or shrine.

 

Goshuin is obtainable at Yougoudo Hall located in the west of the Main Hall of Sensoji Temple. Yougoudo provides two types of goshuin as shown above photo. You are able to choose either or both. Each stamp costs about 300 to 500 yen. But first, you need a stamp book(Goshuin cho). This is different from a tourist stamp which is offered in most tourist destinations. Stamp books are available at temples, shrines or stationery stores. It cost about 1,000 to 1,500 yen. The stamp book consists of an accordion structure of 20 to 30 papers with a hardcover.

Goshuin used to be granted to the people who donated shakyo or a handwritten copy of the Buddhist sutra to the temple. Shakyo is considered an expression of piety and recognized as a devotional practice. However, the procedures have been simplified and visitors may get a stamp with a monetary offering as the proof or memory of their visit after worshiping.

Nowadays, however, some people rush into the notable temples or shrines just to buy it even without worshiping. Goshuin is sacred and not to buy a seal but to receive it with thanks. In Japan there are about 160,000 shrines and temples and many of them have goshuin for visitors. However, some major temples such as Higashi Honganji and Nishi Hongwanji in Kyoto have no goshuin.

Goshuin may become an unforgettable memory of visiting place and be a good souvenir for just yourself. Finding good handwritten calligraphy, you may be able to enjoy seeing the beautiful Chinese character. In addition, stamp books decorated and covered with various design are also attractive. It may be a good idea for you to start collecting goshuin at Sensoji Temple and deepen your knowledge of Japan.

 

We are looking forward to welcoming you and sharing the Japanese culture with you at our tour.

(posted by Kuma)

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