Everyone says “new year, new me” but how many people can honestly say they’ve kept up their new habits for the year?
Unfortunately for many years, I was a part of that group. I did great from January until about March, and then… Nothing. I got lazy. I didn’t keep up the habits I’d hoped or found it was easier to do something else instead.
Last year, de-stressing my life was important, and I put my own advice to good use. My resolution was to get out on more interesting walks and to try something new. Plus, I figured if it was learning or studying something on the way, then that’s even better. My nearest and dearest know how much I love visiting temples and shrines – and my collection of omamori over the years has been extensive. So I figured, why not take up collecting goshuin too?
What are Goshuin?
Goshuin (御朱印) are seal stamps that worshippers and visitors to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples collect in special books called goshuincho (御朱印帳), which are sold in shrines, temples, and some book stores. Goshuin can range in price from ¥300 to ¥1000 yen, although some locations will ask that you give a donation instead of a set price.
These seal stamps are made in a variety of ways, but typically an image or design is first stamped on the page, then the monk or kannushi (a Shinto “servant of God”) writes the shrine or temple’s name, the date, and sometimes other messages. These are allowed to dry, then a piece of thin paper is placed over them to soak up any excess ink, and the goshuincho is given back to its owner.
During festivals or other special events, some shrines and temples will have pre-made goshuin papers that are handed out instead—you can glue them into your goshuincho once you get home.
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