A popular activity in Japan — for visitors and residents alike — is the collecting of ink prints made by rubber stamps. Each stamp is part of a different collection, called a stamp rally. At any given time, there are different stamp rallies taking place around the country. Some stamp rallies are available just in a local area, whereas others take place on a national level.
There are a few different ways to participate in a stamp rally. You can find one happening near you, travel around the country to collect many stamps in a particular rally, or just collect random stamps you find while exploring Japan.
If you want to participate in a specific rally, you’ll need to seek out the materials. This will include a card or book for the stamps as well as the instructions, which will tell you where to find stamps and how to win a prize.
Every rally has different requirements to gain a prize. For some, you need to collect all the stamps. For others, it’s just a certain number of stamps. In other cases, only the first participants to complete the rally win a prize or you may have the opportunity to enter a prize draw for a grand prize.
If you’re more interested in just gaining stamps as souvenirs, purchase a small notebook. Choose one with thick paper, as some stamps use heavy ink. A spiral-bound notebook is better than one with a glued spine as you’ll be able to keep it open long enough to ensure the stamp dries completely.
The nine Tokyo metropolitan parks hold an Autumn Leaf Stamp Rally. It’s a great way to see the fall colors, and if you are one of the first 10,000 people to visit five of the parks, you’ll win a prize.
Top 100 Castles
To take part in the Top 100 Castles Stamp Rally, you’ll need an official guidebook of the same name, which is available in bookstores. Even though there is no English version of the book, you’ll be able to participate even if you don’t read Japanese — it is relatively easy to figure out what castles are included and where the stamps go. The great thing about this rally is that it includes destinations from across the country.
JR East Pokemon
One way to catch them all is to take part in the JR East Pokemon Stamp Rally. This is one of the easier stamp rallies to complete as you collect stamps at the most touristic train stations. Plus, you only need to collect six of the 55 stamps to receive a prize.
Find out if a stamp rally is happening at places you plan to visit or in your local area. New ones are popping up all the time, especially in the summer and for promotional events. Be sure to purchase a notebook if you want to collect stamps from various rallies. Then, whenever you visit a train station, shrine, temple, museum, airport, monument or park, you can ask if they have any stamps and gain a new one (or maybe even two or three) for your collection.