Shrine & Temple Seals

A friend-of-a-friend of Jason’s told him about this, and it’s a fantastic activity/memento for any paper/pen/calligraphy/stationery nerds. Basically, you buy a small book, called a shuinchou (朱印帳) usually for about ¥1000 (roughly $10). You take it with you to each shrine or temple you visit and there will be a place where, for ¥300, a monk will write calligraphy and then stamp it with the seal of the shrine. It’s incredibly beautiful – both watching them write it, and the resulting page of calligraphy and stamp.

Here are the seals I collected on this trip:

3 thoughts on “Shrine & Temple Seals

  1. SO COOL! #insidertips. So it’s just the seal of the shrine…do these say anything more than that and if so, what odes it say? Do you just walk in, hold out your notebook to any monk, and they know exactly what you’re asking for?


    • I think the calligraphy is sometimes the name of the shrine, or maybe the name of the person who wrote it. I’m not sure. The date they wrote it is also written along the the side.

      You don’t just approach any monk – there’s usually a counter where they’re set up. Sometimes it’s part of the same counter where they’re selling little good luck charms, sometimes it’s a separate counter, and sometimes in it’s in a totally different building, depending on the size of the temple. But if you don’t spot it easily, you can hold up the book someone will point you in the right direction.


  2. I now have the vision of carrying your book, whipping it out at a quiet monk who is walking along a path, and without breaking eye contact, he pulls out a pen, swipes at the book expertly, and that’s what it looks like. And then he keeps walking.


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