Today I would like to explain about "Goshuin" and also about how and why you get goshuin.
Goshuin is a combination of red stamp and handwritten calligraphy by the monks or kannushi (shinto priest).
It is a proof that you visited that temple or shrine. Most of the temples and shrines offer goshuin in Japan.
However, not all of them. Since there are many sects of Buddhism in Japan, Jodo Shinshu does not offer goshuin for visitors. Ex. Higashi-hongan-ji, Nishi-hongan-ji temple.
If you are planning to visit temples and shrines in Japan, it will definitely be a good memory to collect goshuin.
How to get Goshuin!
In Kyoto, there are many temples and shrines which has created unique and creative goshuin such as in the picture billow.
Normally goshuin is created by the red stamp and handwritten calligraphy. Since many people collect goshuin in Japan, there are many styles and colourful ones.
There are many bloggers who collect Goshuin and post unique ones and special anniversary ones.
Left: Goshuin made after famous painter Itou Jyakuchou Right: traditional looking Goshuin
How to get Goshuin at temples and shrines
*First you need to get "Goshuin-chou" which is a notebook just for Goshuin. If you ask the monks to write them on a piece of paper or your own normal notebook, they will refuse to write. It is important that you get your own Goshuin-chou or otherwise you can not get goshuin. Normally you can get Goshuin for 300yen~500yen. Some places do not put the price but, the price will be the same and you do not have to pay more than 500yen.
*Where you can buy Goshuin-chou
Goshuin-chou is normally sold at temples and shrines around 1000yen, and some of them sell their original designs. Also you can get them online or in stationary shops. Most of the Goshuin-chou sold at the temples and shrines are simple, if you prefer to get your own kind of Goshuin-chou, the ones sold at online and stationary stores have different variety of designs. Since collecting Goshuin is becoming famous among younger generations the variety of Goshuin-chou has increased.
*After you get your Goshuin-chou, you should not use it for other purposes. Normally if there is something written or other tourist stamps on the Goshuin-chou they might refuse to give you the Goshuin or lecture you how Goshuin is special and different from others.
*Where to get the Goshuin
You can get your Goshuin at "朱印所"(shuin-jyo) or "納経所" (Noukyou-jyo). If you can not read the Kanji, still remembering these shapes will help you to find the place. Also most of the visitors from Japan would understand what you are finding and help you to find the right place.
Some shrines have fixed time for the Goshuin, this means you have to be aware that you can not get the Goshuin anytime.
Normally the time for the Goshuin is the hours when temples and shrines are open. However if the monk or kannushi who writes the goshuin is absent, you will not be able to get the Goshuin.
Like this picture, they have written the time for the Goshuin.
This temple is called Honkou-ji (本光寺) and this temple is famous for the stamps they put on the Goshuin.
Since this Goshuin was written in January,
there is a gold mouse stamp on the bottom and the stamp of "Matu(松)" "Take(竹)" "Ume (梅)" on the top.
These stamps represent new years in Japan.
They put stamps that are related to the month you visit.
This one is from "Bukou-ji"(佛光寺) near Karasuma-douri.
This Goshuin is famous for cute designs.
Some shrines provide Goshuin on paper so you will have to glue them on your Goshuin-chou
There is no problem to stick the paper, if that is Goshuin.
Why people collect Goshuin
First, this blog explained that Goshuin was the proof that you went to that temple or shrine.
However, it is more than a proof of visit. Goshuin-chou the book you collect is said to be a passport for your next life.
There are other religious reasons but the biggest reason is the passport.
When you ask for your Goshuin, please be patient while you are waiting to get written. Every Goshuin is very precious and monks who write them are professionals so don't miss to see the skilled handwriting!!
If you are interested to getting Goshuin feel free to ask other questions to us!!
Our e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
We are waiting for your visit in Japan and Kyoto:))