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A Guide to Collecting Eki Stamps

Japan is undeniably a collector's paradise. As a matter of fact, there are a plethora of different things to collect here that are catered to every collector's unique taste and preference. Anime fans have their usual toys, mangas, and memorabilia. Pokemon fans have numerous Pokemon Centers that sell an assortment of Pokemon merchandise. Kitkat collectors have more than 300 flavors of Kitkat to try out. Pilgrims have the temple stamps called goshuin which I wrote about last time. These are but some of the numerous possible things to collect in Japan.

A Guide to Collecting Eki Stamps

However, since I'm promoting budget travel, my article today talks about something that you can collect for FREE. Yup, you read that right. All you need to have is a clean notebook or tickler and an ever-watchful eye.

A Guide to Collecting Eki Stamps

Eki stamps, also called train station stamps, are rubber ink stamps that are typically found in most train stations in Japan. These stamps feature the name of the station and are usually designed with famous landmarks and products that are found near the station. Sometimes, you'd also see Eki stamps that feature the station's mascot or the station building itself.

I used my NAVI 2020 Travel Journal as my eki stamp book

The history of the Eki stamps in Japan can be traced back to 1931 when the first Eki stamp was installed at a train station in Fukui. Since then, Eki stamps were installed in most train stations in the country. It is also installed in airports, seaports, and even highway service areas.

So how does one collect Eki stamps?

It's actually very simple. You can avail of a stamp book in most book stores in the country. This costs around 500 -1000 yen. However, there is no stopping anyone who would like to use their diary, notebook, planner, tickler, or sketch pad as a personalized stamp book.

Once you have your own stamp book ready, the next thing to do is to look for your first Eki stamp. The stamps are usually found near the ticket gates of the station. However, sometimes it is with the station attendant so better ask if you can't find it. The stamp usually comes with an ink pad and some stack of blank paper in case you forgot your stamp book. If the ink pad is dry, you can politely ask the station attendant to refill it with ink. However, no one will stop you from carrying your own ink pad.

Oh, and before I forget, train stations aren't the only place to get stamps. You'd also find them in most major tourist destinations, highway rest stops, and even some hotels and ryokans

To motivate you, here's my collection of not only Eki stamps but stamps from different tourist spots, shrines, and temples from my recent trips:

Japan 2014-2015

Wakayama Castle Stamp 1

Wakayama Castle Stamp 2

Japan 2018

Awajishima Whirlpool boat stamp

Gifu Castle stamp

Hiranoya Bekkan Stamp

Hiranoya Kougen stamp

Sunomata Ichiya Castle stamp

Sunomata Ichiya Castle stamp 2

Nishi Honganji stamp

Japan 2019 

Higashi Honganji stamp

Honmachi Station stamp

JR Kansai Airport station stamp

Kansai International Airport stamp

Kodaiji stamp

Kyoto Station Stamp

Kyoto Tower stamp

Namba Station stamp

Nara City stamp

JR Nara Station stamp

Nijo Castle stamp

Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine stamp

JR Osakajokoen Station stamp

JR Rinku Town Station stamp

Tenryuji Stamp

Todaiji stamp

Tofukuji and Heian Shrine stamps

Motivated enough? Great! There are around 9000+ stations in Japan to visit plus thousands of different tourist destinations. So what are you waiting for? Grab that stamp book and start your stamp collecting quest!

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