Do you remember the time when the best hobby ever was collecting cards? I loved the Digimon ones, but had plenty of different things. Sadly enough, growing up for me meant stopping collecting children’s stuff, as I tried to become more serious…
… Yeah, funny joke, did you fall for it?
Anyway, those who love traditional Japan and collecting things will be happy to know that there’s a word to combine them both: Goshuincho.
Picture from internet, the only one which is not mine.
Goshuincho is a book sold in the major temples and shrines to collect the red stamps (shuin); prices go from 800 to 1500 yen and there are different colors and kinds. I bought mine at Yushima Tenmagu Shrine, near my place, with the first stamp included.
For japanese people is a way to show their faith and have a charm with them, but it can also be a gorgeous souvenir.
So, how do you get one?
First, remember that a temple is a sacred building, so don’t forget to purify your hands and mouth with the water at the entrance; the Goshuincho are exposed with the lucky charm and written oracle, so you can’t miss it.
Once bought, you’ll be asked to wait while the monk or the priestess is preparing the page; usually they’re going to write down the name of the temple and the japanese date, before adding the red stamp.
As every monk has its own style, every Goshuin is different and unique.
Once you get the first stamp, you just to carry your book with you in any temple or shrine and give it to the monk at the charm stand. They’ll ask you to decide on which page do you want it and a donation, which is usually 300 yen (or 500 yen).
My collection so far!
You can decided to use both side of the Goshuincho; I was too scared of ruining mine, so I just wrote the name of the corresponding temple and the date (the stamps are very beautiful, but kinda hard to read sometimes).
What’s left to say? I’m still kicking myself for not knowing about it sooner, losing the chance to get one from Kyoto, but I’m satisfied with my collection so far and it has become my little priceless tresure.
What are you waiting for? Choose your book and start a new adventure!
Ps: my first post using the school’s Ipad… I feel so smart!