There is a “oshirushi-seal” that is given to visitors to a shrine or temple as proof that they have prayed at them. It is a red ink stamp seal that is a combination of “Gohouin (A precious and special seal)” and “The seal of that shrine’s or temple’s name” that each of them has. Usually, the name of the company, etc., is written over the stamp in black ink with a brush. This is called a “Goshuin stamp” (It is also called “red seal” or “red ink stamp”). Originally, it was a certification seal that could be obtained when a copy of a sutra was dedicated to a temple. Today, it is often used as a proof of visit to shrines or temples, regardless of whether or not one has paid a visit to a sutra. The book used to have this seal stamped is called a “Goshuin book”. Many Japanese collect these seals for each shrine they visit on the book they bring with them. Many people enjoy collecting these seals as one of the pleasures of traveling. The seals are very interesting, as they are different for each shrine or temple. In addition, black ink writing is done on the spot by the shrine or temple staff. Recently, these seals have become popular among people from overseas because they are beautiful, Japanese, and attractive. Why don’t you try to get one when you pay a visit to a shrine or temple? It would be a wonderful souvenir for your visit there.

When getting “Goshuin stamps”, please note the following.

・Not all shrines and temples offer red seals
Some shrines or temples offer the awarding of the seals while others do not. Most unattended temples or shrines do not.

・Religious Policies
Some temples refuse to bestow seals on books that are stamped with goshuin of other shrines or temples of other denominations. Please understand that each temple has its own religious policy.

・About Charges
Generally, you are required to pay some fee to get a red seal. This is a gratuity to the shrine or temple. In some cases, the amount of money is not clearly stated in the way of “please pay in the amount your willing to pay (shino)”. If you are unsure, please ask for a rough estimate.

・About the book, etc. to be stamped with a red seal
When you bring a red seal book, they will write directly on it, but if not, you would get goshuin paper prepared by the shrine or temple. Unlike commemorative stamps at tourist attractions, “Goshuin stamps” are not to be treated roughly. Please refrain from trying to get Goshuin stamped on things such as guidebooks, notebooks, or notepads. It is disrespectful.