Stamp Collecting – The Other Kind

Collecting ink stampsWe took a trip to the sea today. Over the years, we have developed a lot of games to liven up the trips which don’t cost any money. I talked about how we always look for phone cards when we go out. Another form of free entertainment we enjoy whenever we go out is collecting stamps, but not the postal type. One of the great things about Japan is that almost anywhere you go, they have ink stamps that you can put into a book for free.

These stamps are located everywhere. At train stations, at highway stops, at museums, at virtually every tourist spot, at temples, at shrines just to name a few. One of my favorite books is the one we made climbing Mt. Fuji – there were a number of stamps at each rest station marking the height of each along the way and at the very top we got a huge one from the shrine that is located there. Basically there are stamps everywhere in Japan if you keep an eye out for them.

Collecting ink stampsThey even have sponsored stamp rallies. These are usually organized by tourist bureaus or cities. If you get stamps from all the designated places in the rally, you will get some type of prize. These are usually focused toward families with kids, but sometimes they have them specifically for adults. It is a great way to see a new area of Japan and you often find yourself in out of the way places you would have never gone otherwise.

We added 7 news stamps to our book today. Not only are they free entertainment for us finding them, but they also are great memory books as each time you look at them, you remember where you got them. With a little imagination and focusing on things that you like to do, it’s not too difficult to find entertainment that doesn’t cost a lot of money.

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5 Responses to Stamp Collecting – The Other Kind

  1. frank says:

    I didn’t realize that the stamps were everywhere. I thought only the temples and shrines did that. Neato.

  2. Jay Gatsby says:

    I traveled all across Japan back in the early-90s, and used to collect temple stamps and calligraphy in a temple book. Most are quite beautiful and are works of art in and of themselves. Back then, it cost 100 yen or so in the form of a temple donation.

  3. Aahz says:

    That sounds really cool. Kind of like letterboxing made easy :-)

  4. pfadvice says:

    I traveled all across Japan back in the early-90s, and used to collect temple stamps and calligraphy in a temple book. Most are quite beautiful and are works of art in and of themselves. Back then, it cost 100 yen or so in the form of a temple donation.

    Yes, to get the “official” stamps from temples will cost a small donation – they are quite beautiful – but most will also have rubber stamps someplace that you can use for free.

  5. Jay Gatsby says:

    pfadvice,

    Yep, that’s my recollection. However, I thought 100 Yen was a small price to pay to get some beautiful calligraphy. I found the calligraphy from some of the smaller temples to be nicer than the larger ones (such as Sanjusangendo in Kyoto — very crowded with tourists).

    Feel free to drop me an e-mail, and we can swap stories about some of the various historical sights in Japan (I traveled the entire length of Japan, from Wakkanai to Kagoshima)

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