Something I’ve tried to collect since our first trip to Japan in 2009 is an example of an Eki Stamp from each station we’ve passed through. According to one blog I’ve looked at, there are 9,161 stations in Japan. So far we’ve been through a tiny proportion, and I haven’t managed to collect stamps for all of them yet.
Here’s a mosaic of the JR train station (and one JR ferry port!) stamps I’ve collected so far:
Click through the image to see the set on Flickr.
I have one double. I had another go at Uji station on our 2012 trip, just because there were penguin-themed pieces of paper next to the stamp!
This stamp is one of my favourites anyway, because of the depiction of Lady Murasaki Shikibu in front of the Byodoin Temple in Uji. Lady Murasaki set a lot of the Tale of Genji in and around Uji, and Byodoin is a stunningly lovely place to visit. I’ve blogged about our first visit to Uji in 2009. I need to write an update covering our 2012 and 2013 visits.
One thing I’d like to do next time we’re in Tokyo is ride the entire loop of the Yamanote line and collect a stamp from each station. One of the writers on PingMag did just that last year for the 50th anniversary of the Yamanote line.
The blog I’ve linked to at the top of this post has links to other websites and blogs about station stamps in Japan, and also makes the very good point that commemorative stamps aren’t just available at train stations. I’ve picked up a couple from museums and temples as well on our travels. Click through each image below to access websites giving more information about the venue.
I’m sure these stamps were originally aimed at children, but it’s a fun thing to do. Keep an eye out for the stamps – they’re often inside the ticket gate, sometimes in the staffed area that JR Pass users and people who have problems with their tickets congregate in. Usually they are a self-inking plastic contraption where you slide your paper into the machine and press down on the (usually cream) handle. Sometimes they are the good old hand stamp variety, with an ink pad alongside them for you to get nice and messy with. The ones I’ve missed on our travels so far have been ones that I haven’t been able to spot quickly enough as we rush through the station.
You can buy special books to collect the stamps in, available in Japanese book shops for 500円 and called a スタンプノート (pronounced stanpu noh-toh), but I have a cheap notepad that I use, so that I can stick the stamp into my current travel journal.
It’s nice to look back through the places we’ve been and see the stamp from the station among my memories and other souvenirs I’ve stuck in there.