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Receiving a stamp

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Japanese shrines and temples

When traveling in Japan you can find some very traditional architecture and atmospheres at the shrines and temples. At first glance, they do seem rather similar but they are actually quite different in religion, customs and uses.

The typical answer you might receive if you ask most Japanese people about the differences, is often a simple explanation of the different uses. Shrines are often used for celebratory events, like weddings, births of children, child-rearing and celebrating the New Year. And temples are often used for funerals, and memorial ceremonies and also for celebrating the New Year by the ringing of the large bells.

But the differences are actually much deeper and in a sense, more subtle.

In this week's Japanese learner's blog by one of the JOI Japanese teachers, Rie Imoto, Imoto sensei focuses on a recent fad in Japan that is related to traveling around Japan, visiting shrines and temples, by both domestic tourists and more recently, by foreign tourists as well.

Receiving a stamp








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Receiving a stamp

There are many people who come to travel in Japan, and who go around visiting shrines and temples. At the shrines and temples, you can receive a stamp as proof of your visit. Generally, in addition to the stamped seal, you can also have the name of the shrine or temple and the date of your visit written for you by writing brush.

These stamps have been around since olden times, but in recent years, it has become a fad to receive these stamps when visiting shrines and temples. The diaries which are made for these stamps to be put in are called 'Goshuin Chou' (stamp diaries) and these in recent years have begun to be sold in a variety of beautiful designs. And when you go to large shrines or large temples, you can purchase some original 'Goshuin Chou'.

These 'Goshuin Chou' are sold in the places where they sell the shrine's charms or temple's amulets, or at the receptions and you can get them for about 300 yen. There are some places where you can get them written for you in front of your eyes, and others where you leave them there for a while and come and pick them up later.

If you do come to Japan on travel and visit around the shrines and temples please prepare one volume of a 'Goshuin Chou' and receive some stamps as a memento.

御朱印(ごしゅいん) a stamp that is given at a shrine or a temple

お参(まい)りする go visit (a shrine, temple)

証(あかし)として in sign of, in proof of

一般的(いっぱんてき)には generally

押印(おういん) seal

筆(ふで) writing brush

購入(こうにゅう)する purchase

お守(まも)り charm


Mina sama Konnichiwa ! My name is Rie Imoto. I live in Nara city with my husband and daughter. Nara city is the oldest capital of Japan and there still a lot of nature remaining from the old days.

I love photography, and always walk with my camera and enjoy taking pictures of flowers, the sky, mountains, and nature. I also like running. I often run around my neighborhood. I sometimes participate in marathons. When I run, it refreshes both my mind and body and I can spend the time energetically.

When I was a child, I was very interested in foreign cultures and so, because it was in the age before the Internet, I used to enjoy exchanging letters with many people from different countries. I am so glad that we can connect with people all over the world now using the Internet. I am really looking forward to teaching you Japanese and to hear about your stories in Japanese. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

Start 3 Trial FlexLessons for only $9 !

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Guest Saturday, 25 September 2021