I introduced goshuinchō (stamp books) in this post, and today I’m just posting an update! This pink, cherry blossom themed stamp book is a new design available at the temple! On this side you can see the five-storied pagoda with cherry blossoms and the name of the temple woven into the fabric in gold-colored thread. The other side of the book has more cherry blossoms with the word 朱印帳, also in gold thread. Finally, the book comes with a clear cover to help keep it neat and clean during your stamp collecting journeys.
Strings of prayer beads can be found at many temples in the shapes of bracelets or in larger sizes consisting of more beads. At 54 temples in and around Kyoto which participate in the Juzu Junrei (数珠巡礼) or “Prayer Bead Pilgrimage,” you can also find individual prayer beads engraved with the name of the temple at which it was purchased. Ninna-ji is one of the temples involved in this pilgrimage, and you can find the others listed in Japanese here. Visitors can collect as many beads as they want and arrange them in any form they would like, though prayer beads are usually strung in groups of 108 beads, or in quantities that evenly divide into 108 such as 54, 36, or 27.
These are the two options available, both have”仁和寺” (Ninna-ji) engraved on them, but it was difficult to take a photograph that showed the engraving nicely.
There is also one other pilgrimage that involves collecting prayer beads that Ninna-ji participates in, the Kinki Acala Pilgrimage (Kinki Fudōson Junrei). “Kinki” is the name for the area of western Japan including Kyoto, Osaka, Wakayama, Nara, Shiga and Hyogo prefectures. This pilgrimage consists of 36 temples in Kinki, of which Ninna-ji is numbered the 14th.
Some visitors bring stamp books with them and ask at Goten or at the little building next to Kon-do for a stamp to commemorate their visit. The picture above is of a monk completing a page at Goten where the chrysanthemum seal is used. The Japanese notes the name of the temple along with date. You can see the completed version below.For visitors who have left their books at home, there are also completed stamps available on single pieces of paper which can later be pasted into a stamp book. Both options cost some change, in the case of Ninna-ji, ￥300.
Of course if you happen to be in the market for a stamp book, you can find them at many temples and shrines. The stamp books available at Ninna-ji can be seen in the picture above.
Stamp books for the purpose of collecting stamps at shrines and temples are usually not bound like normal books. Between the front and back covers there is a long piece of paper that is folded like an accordion. The folds demarcate the individual pages. Take a look around the next time you visit a temple, you might see a stamp book to start collecting stamps in! If you can’t find them, you can ask for them in Japanese: the word for the stamp book is “goshuinchō” (said “go-shoe-in-cho”) (御集印帳 or 御朱印帳) to ask for the stamp, just leave off the “cho.”