Commemorative Prefecture Stamps

Japanese commemorative prefecture stamps focus entirely on of the 47 prefectures in the country. Among Japan commemorative stamps, the Local Autonomy Act series is particular interesting and takes the Japanese stamp collector on a Japan philatelic trip through the highlights of this beautiful country.

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Oita Prefecture'

Oita Prefecture is featured on this Japan commemorative stamps sheet. The prefecture is located on Kyushu Island.

The prefecture is famous for its hot springs, in particular those around the city of Beppu. The are known as the 'hells' and are a major tourist attraction.

The prefecture is bordered by Miyazaki, Fukuoka, and Kumamoto prefectures. It is divided between north and south by a major tectonic line. The Kirishima Range, a volcanic belt, runs vertically through the prefecture and contributes to the many hot springs making Oita the prefecture with the largest numbers of hot springs in Japan.

The Japan furusato stamps sheet on the left shows the following kitte images:

  1. Usa-jingu and Futabayama. Usa-jingu also known as Usa-Hachimangu is a Shinto shrine in Usa City. It dates back to the Nara period and is dedicated to Emperor Ojin who was deified here as the tutelary god of warriors. Futabayama Sadaji (1912-1968), was the 35th Yokozuna in sumo wrestling. He had a winning streak of 69 bouts.
  2. Bungo Ume Blossom and Mejiro Bird. Also known as Prunus Ume, the Bungo Ume is a type of Japanese apricot found in Oita Prefecture. The Meijiro Bird is also called Japanese White Eye or Zosterops Japonicus. It is a small passerine bird. It is olive green on its back.
  3. Fukiji Temple; a Tendai temple in Bungotakada. Established in 718, it is oldest wooden structure in Kyushu. It is a designated national treasure.
  4. Hita Gion Matsuri Festival. A summer festival in which participants seek to dispel pestilence , wind, flood, and damage, and pray for peace and well-being. The highlight of the festival is a parade of nine elegant floats, some of them measuring more than ten meters in height.
  5. Bungo Futamigaura, located in the Kamiura area is a coastal stretch known for its wedded rocks. It is one of the 100 most beautiful sceneries in Oita.

The background of this commemorative prefecture stamps sheet shows the hot springs of Beppu City.

These Japan commemorative stamps are issued on November 15, 2012.

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Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Tochigi Prefecture'

Using a rather colorful design, the Tochigi commemorative prefecture stamps sheet stands out among the other prefectures stamps.

The prefecture is located in the Kanto region on Honshu Island. Located close to Tokyo, Tochigi is home to many corporations and industrial zones. Vehicle parts and accessories are the primary products, followed by vehicles, pharmaceuticals, and communication equipment.

Besides its industries, the prefecture is world famous for its historic sites. Nikko, whose ancient Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples UNESCO has recognized as World Heritage Sites is located in Tochigi.

Nikko National Park was registered as the 10th World Heritage Site in 1999. The area encompasses RInno-ji, Nikko Tosho-gu, Mt. Nantai, and Futarasan Shrine.

Other famous parts of Tochigi include the Nasu region with its onsen hot springs in Kinugawa and local sake. The imperial family has a villa in Nasu.

The commemorative prefecture stamps to the left depict the following images:

  1. Nikko Tosho-gu Higurashi-mon Gate, dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Built in 1617, Ieyasu's remains are entombed here.
  2. Ashikaga Gakko School, Japan's oldest academic institution. Located in Ashikaga City, it is said to have been founded in the 9th century. Students came here to study Confucianism and Chinese medicine. Saint Francis Xavier introduced the school to the world as Japan's best university.
  3. Kibuna, folk art yellow Crucian Carp. It is said that eating this fish cured smallpox in Tochigi.
  4. SL Mooka Steam train light railway, founded in 1912.
  5. Nasu Kogen Highlands, famous summer resort in Tochigi

The background behind these Japan furusato stamps shows Tochigi strawberries.

Tochigi prefecture is Japan's number one producer of tochiotome fine strawberries.

These Japan commemorative stamps are issued on October 15, 2012.

Price: US$ 10.50 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Nara Prefecture'

The Nara commemorative prefecture stamps are yet again beautifully designed examples of Japanese furusato stamps at their best.

Nara Prefecture is located in the Kansai region of Japan. Its capital is the city of Nara. The prefecture has the distinction of having more UNESCO World Heritage Listings than any other prefecture.

The prefecture is landlocked and the smallest among the 47 in Japan. It is bordered to the west by Wakayama and Osaka Prefectures, to the north by Kyoto Prefecture, and to the east by Mie Prefecture.

Most of Nara is covered by mountains and forests, leaving only a small inhabitable area of 23% of its total landmass.

Historically, Nara was known as Yamato-no-kuni, and once, was clearly the political center of Japan during the Nara period. Ancient capitals were built here during the 7th and 8th centuries.

The background of the Japan furusato stamps sheet to the left shows the annual Wakakusa Yamayaki festival. During the festival, and in addition to fireworks, grass on the hillside of Mt. Wakakusa is set on fire. In the front, the Kofuku-ji shrine pagoda.

The five individual Japan commemorative stamps depict the following:

  1. Daigokuden-seiden, cherry blossoms, and Kemari. Daigokuden-seiden was the former imperial audience hall at Heijo palace in the Heijo-kyo capital. Kemari was a ball game popular during the Heian period.
  2. Hase-dera temple in Sakurai, Nara and peony flowers. Erected in the 7th century, it is the main temple of the Buzan sect of Shingon Buddhism.
  3. Ukimido Hall, hexagonal pavillion near Kasuga Grand Shrine
  4. Muro-ji-Gojyu-no-to, five storied pagoda at Kofuku-ji temple. Built in 1426 it is a national treasure.
  5. Cherry blossoms at Yoshino-yama, the most famous cherry blossom viewing spot in Nara. There are an approximate 30000 cherry trees at Mt. Yoshino.

These commemorative prefecture stamps were issued on February 8, 2010.

Price: US$ 11.80 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Kochi Prefecture'

On the island of Shikoku lies Kochi Prefecture. Prior to the Meiji Restoration at the turn of the 19th century, Kochi was known as Tosa Province and was controlled by the powerful Chosokabe clan and the Yamauchi family.

Kochi comprises the southwestern part of Shikoku, facing the Pacific Ocean. It is the largest but least populous of Shikoku's four prefectures. Kochi is famous for its many rivers, in particular for the Shimanto-gawa river.

Besides it natural beauty, there are a few notable sites of interest in Kochi such as Kochi castle, the Ryugado cave, and the Shimanto river.

The Kochi commemorative prefecture stamps perfectly capture the beauty of the province.

The background of this Japan stamps sheet shows the Shimanto river, also referred to as the last clear river in Japan due to the absence any dams. The river has 47 sinking bridges or low water crossings without parapets so not to be washed away by floods.

At the top, the first of the Japan commemorative stamps pictures Sakamoto Ryoma (1836-67) at Katsura-hama beach. Ryoma was the leader of the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Bakumatsu Period. He is largely considered a visionary striving for a Japan without feudal bonds.

The following four stamps show:

  1. Nora-dokei, hand built clock tower at a Meiji era farm house. The tower was built 120 years ago.
  2. Harimaya-bashi bridge and tram. The bridge is know for a sad love story involving a priest.
  3. Niyodogawakami Koinobori - Carp streamers wind socks at Niyodo River.
  4. Cape Ashizuri Misaki cliffs

These Japan commemorative stamps were issued on May 14, 2010.

Price: US$ 10.50 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Miyazaki Prefecture'

This commemorative prefecture stamps sheet is issued on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Japan Local Autonomy Law.

The Local Autonomy Law of Japan was passed in April 1947 and established most of Japan's contemporary local government structures, including prefectures, municipalities, etc.

A typical Japan furusato stamp, it vividly gives a glimpse into the culture, nature, and history of Miyazaki Prefecture.

The furusato stamps sheet shows notable sites of interest throughout Miyazaki prefecture.

At the top of the Japan commemorative stamps sheet, you can see the Miyazaki prefectural government office building.

The four furusato hometown stamps at the bottom depict:

Left-hand column

  1. Koibito no Oka - Lovers' Hill in Higashiusuki-gun
  2. Ebino Kogen - Ebino Plateau, part of the Kirishima 12km spectacular ridge trail

Right-hand column

  1. Nishimatsubara Sun - Golden rape flower fields with one of hundreds of ancient burial mounds in the back
  2. Rice Terraces in Sakamoto

The background of the commemorative prefecture stamps sheet shows the famous Nichinan coastline stretching from Miyazaki city all the way down to the southern tip of Kyushu island.

The Miyazaki prefecture new issues Japan furusato stamp sheet will be issued on August 15, 2012.

This fine example of a Japanese stamp uses a 6 color gravure print.

Price: US$ 10.90 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Kanagawa Prefecture'

The next furusato commemorative prefecture stamps are centered around Kanagawa Prefecture.

Kanagawa Prefecture is located in the southern Kanto region of Japan. Its capital is Yokohama. Kanagawa is part of the greater Tokyo area.

The prefecture is quite small being wedged between Tokyo in the north, the Mt. Fuji foothills to the northwest, and the Sagami and Tokyo Bays to the south and east.

The eastern side of Kanagawa is heavily industrialized, including the large port cities of Yokohama and Kawasaki.

The southeastern area nearby Miura Peninsula is less urbanized, with the ancient city of Kamakura drawing tourists to temples and shrines.

The western part is more mountainous and includes resort areas like Odawara and Hakone.

Roughly 23% of the total prefecture land area is designated as natural parks.

The commemorative prefecture stamps sheet on the left shows the following images from Kanagawa Prefecture:

  1. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shinto Shrine in Kamakura and Yabusame, traditional Japanese mounted archery.
  2. Minato-Mirai port area in Yokohama, with the Yokohama Landmark tower on the right. The tower is the tallest building in Japan.
  3. Jogashima Island Lighthouse - the biggest island in Kanagawa Prefecture located at the end of Miura Peninsula.
  4. Mt. Tanzawa west of Yokohama and Lake Miyagase-ko
  5. Hakone's Lake Ashi-no-ko

The background of the Japan furusato stamp sheet is covered by Enoshima Island, the Shonan coastline, and Mt. Fuji in the back.

The Shona coastline is famous for beach day-trippers from Tokyo and for its local surf community.

Issue date for these Japan commemorative stamps was July 13, 2012.

Price: US$ 9.90 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Akita Prefecture'

The next Japan furusato stamp sheet takes us to Akita prefecture.

Akita Prefecture is located in the Tohoku Region of northern Honshu, the main island of Japan. The capital is the city of Akita.

Akita Prefecture faces the Sea of Japan in the west and is bordered by four other prefectures: Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, and Yamgata.

The Ou Mountains mark the eastern border of the prefecture , and the higher Dewa Mountains run parallel through the center of the prefecture.

Like much of Japan, Akita Prefecture is characterized by cold winters.

Akita is famous for its hot springs near Lake Tazawa. In addition, it boasts numerous seasonal festivals. Some examples thereof are the Akita Kanto, the Omagari Fireworks, the Namahage Matsuri, and the Yokote Kamakura Festivals.

The old town of Kakunodate, known as little Kyoto, is particularly charming.

The Akita commemorative prefecture stamps to the left depict the following images:

  1. Image of Shirase Nobu, army officer and the leader of the Japanese Antarctic Expedition (1910-12) and image of Namahage, Japanese folklore demon-like man
  2. Kourakukan, traditional Kabuki theater and Japan's oldes wooden playlist
  3. Kakunodate no Bukeyashiki - the old town Kakunodate with its samurai residences
  4. Lake Tazawa and Tatsuko Statue
  5. Yokote Kamakura Festival - Mid-winter snow festival with igloos

The background of the Japan commemorative stamp sheet feature the Kantou Tanabata Star Festival Matsuri in Akita City.

Issue date for these Japan commemorative stamps was January 13, 2012.

Price: US$ 10.50 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act ' Iwate Prefecture'

Our journey through the Japanese commemorative prefecture stamps takes us up north to Iwate Prefecture.

Iwate is the second largest prefecture in Japan after Hokkaido. Also located in the Tohoku region of Honshu Island, its capital is Morioka. Iwate has the lowest population density of any prefecture with the exception of Hokkaido.

Iwate faces the Pacific Ocean to the east with rocky cliffs and few sandy beaches. The border to Akita prefecture is formed by the Ou Mountains. The latter still contain active volcanoes such as Mt. Iwate and Mt. Kurikoma.

Famous attractions include the Buddhist temples of Chuson-ji and Motsu-ji, Tenshochi Park in Kitakami City, and Morioka Castle in Morioka.

In the past, Iwate was famous for its mineral wealth, especially for gold, iron, coal, and sulfur. However, these are no longer produced. Hot springs have become the thriving industry behind the prefecture.

The Japan commemorative stamps depict some of the highlights from the prefecture:

  1. Chuson-ji Temple's Konjiki-dou Golden Hall and Chuson-ji Hasu Lotus and Motsu-ji Temple's Jodo-teien Pure Land Gardens, both World Heritage Sites
  2. Ishiwari Sakura, the Rock-splitting Cherry Tree in Morioka, an ancient tree splitting a large granite boulder
  3. Hayachine Kagura, ritual masked dances that worship Mt. Hayachine as a deity.
  4. Jodogahama Beach, the Pure Land Beach, often compared to paradise on earth.
  5. Joboji Urushi, the best Japanese lacquer producing forest area in Iwate

The background of this Japan furusato stamp sheet shows the outer building of the Konjiki-dou Golden Hall.

Issue date for the Japanese commemorative prefecture stamps was November 15, 2011.

Price: US$ 10.90 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Okinawa Prefecture'

Okinawa Prefecture is the topic of the next Japanese commemorative prefecture stamps.

Okinawa is located in southern Japan. It consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1000 kilometers long. The capital of the prefecture is Naha on Okinawa Island.

The islands are subtropical and experience temperatures above 20C for most of the year. Okinawa and the many islands that make up the prefecture contain some of the most abundant coral reefs in the world.

There remain numerous Ryukyuan languages on Okinawa which are more or less incomprehensible to Japanese speakers. These languages are in decline however as standard Japanese is being used by the younger generation.

Okinawa prefecture was home to some of the fiercest and bloodiest battles in the Pacific War and to this day hosts some of the largest US armed forces contingent in Asia Pacific.

The Okinawa commemorative stamps on the left cover the following images:

The main stamp at the top of the stamp sheet, features the Shuri Castle, located in Naha, Okinawa.

The castle dates back to the mid 16th century. It is the largest wooden building in Okinawa.

In front of the castle, you can see a 'kumiodori,' which is a person performing the traditional arts of song and dance.

The stamps background depicts the scenic 'Kabira Bay' on Ishigaki Island, one of Okinawa's main tourist islands.

The four furusato stamps in the bottom half of the sheet picture:

  1. the 'Shurei' castle and Shurei-mon gate
  2. a Ryukyu 'bingata' (bright colored traditional dyed cloth worn during art performances)
  3. the Ryukyu 'buyou' classic dance used to entertain guests
  4. the bright red 'deigo' (Erythrina Variegata) flower, a plant widely cultivated in tropical areas of Southeast Asia. It became the official flower of Okinawa prefecture in 1972.

This Japan furusato stamp sheet was issued on April 13, 2012.

Price: US$ 11.80 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Shiga Prefecture'

Beautiful Shiga Prefecture is featured on this Japan commemorative prefecture stamps sheet.

The prefecture is part of the Kansai region in the western part of Honshu Island. Shiga's capital is the city of Otsu. Shiga borders Fukui, Gifu, Mie, and Kyoto Prefectures. Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake, is located at the center of Shiga Prefecture.

The prefecture is enclosed by mountain ranges with the Hira Mountains and Mt. Hiei in the west, the Ibuki Mountains in the northeast, and the Suzuka Mountains in the southeast.

Shiga's most prominent attraction is Lake Biwa. The northern shore is especially scenic. Mt. Hira is a popular picnic spot.

Blessed with natural beauty, historical buildings, and famous festivals, Shiga has 807 national treasures and cultural properties. Most famous amongst them all is the Hikone Castle. Notable shrines include Hiyoshi Taisha in Otsu and Taga Taisha in Taga.

Unique festivals include the hikiyama floats parade festivals held in Nagahama, Hino, or Maibara.

  1. Lake Biwa-ko, Ukimi-do Temple, and Japanese dabchicks, Tachybaptus Ruficollis
  2. Suigo Boat wetland waterways tour in Omihachiman
  3. View of waterfront at Harie and Shimofuri in Takashima City
  4. Ishiyama-dera Temple, Stony Mountain Temple in Otsu City; allegedly the bith place of the famous Tales of Genji
  5. Hikone Castle, the most famous historic building in Shiga Prefecture. It is one of only 12 Japanese castles with an original keep.

The background image for the Japan commemorative stamps sheet shows Lake Biwa.

This Japanese furusato stamp sheet was issued on October 14, 2011.

Price: US$ 12.00 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Kumamoto Prefecture'

Moving on to the southern part of Japan, Kumamoto Prefecture awaits on this beautifully designed Japanese commemorative prefecture stamps sheet.

Kumamoto is located in the center of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four major Japanese islands. It is bordered by the Ariake inland sea and the Amakusa archipelago to the west, Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures to the north, and Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefectures to the east and south.

The word Kumamoto literally means 'origin of the bear.'

In the east of the prefecture, Mt. Aso reigns over much of Kumamoto. It is an active volcano with a spectacular caldera, one of the world's largest.

Kumamoto Prefecture is characterized by beautiful landscapes and many a famous tourist hot spots such as Mt. Aso, Kumamoto Castle, Tsujun Bridge, etc.

The Japan furusato stamps on the left perfectly demonstrate the appeal of this prefecture. They show the following images and places of interest:

  1. Mt. Aso Volcano
  2. Kumamoto Castle
  3. Kikuchi-jo Castle in Kikuchi City
  4. Utase Bune Sail Boat, used for shrimp fishing
  5. Unzen Amakusa Kokuritsu Koen National Park near Nagasaki and Amakusa Gokyou Five Bridges of Amakusa.

The background image of this Japan commemorative stamp sheet features Mt. Gairin and the Kometsuka scoria volcanic cone.

These Japan commemorative prefecture stamps were issued on May 13, 2011.

Price: US$ 11.80 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Toyama Prefecture'

On the Japan Sea coast lies Toyama Prefecture on Honshu Island.

The prefecture is the leading industrial prefecture on the Toyama Bay. This is made possible by Kurobe Dam providing cheap electricity.

Toyama also contains east Asia's only glaciers outside of Russia.

About 30% of the total land area of the prefecture are dedicated national parks, most notably, the Hakusan National Park and the Noto Peninsula Quasi National Park.

As shown on this commemorative prefecture stamps sheet, Toyama Prefecture hosts one of the most beautiful world heritage sites of Japan, namely Gokayama Historical Village.

Toyama is famous for its mountains and a favorite among Japanese hikers.

The commemorative furusato stamps to the left provide a nice summary of what the prefecture is all about:

  1. Tateyama Mountain Range over the ocean
  2. Kurobe Dam, an arch dam on the Kurobe River
  3. Tateyama Grouse, Lagopus Mutus
  4. Zuiryuji Temple in Takaoka City.
  5. Gokayama Gassho Tsukuri Shuraku Village, world heritage site with traditional Japanese Gassho farm houses.

The background shows Toyama tulips.

This Japan commemorative stamps sheet was issued on June 15, 2011.

Price: US$ 10.10 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps -Local Autonomy Act 'Tottori Prefecture'

Another unique Japan commemorative prefecture stamps sheet. The way leads us to Tottori Prefecture.

The prefecture is located in the Chugoku region of Honshu. Its capital city is Tottori City.

Tottori Prefecture is the least populous prefecture in Japan and home to the famous Tottori Sand Dunes, Japan's only large sand dune system.

There are many notable places in Tottori Prefecture, among them the Tottori Sand Dunes, Mt. Daisen, Mukibanda Yayoi Period Settlement Remains, Lake Nakaumi, and Uradome Coast Line.

The background on this commemorative furusato stamps sheet shows the splendid Tottori Sand Dunes.

The individual Japan furusato stamps feature:

  1. Tottori Sakyu Sand Dunes and the Sanin Coast Line
  2. Tottori Nijisseiki Pears
  3. Kirin Jishi Dragon Lion Mask used during dance performances
  4. Mitokusan Sanbutsu-ji in Nageiredou, a Buddhist temple in the town of Misasa. It is a designated national treasure if Japan.
  5. Mt. Daisen, of volcanic origin and the highest mountain in the Chugoku region.

Issue date for these Japan commemorative stamps was August 15, 2011.

Price: US$ 11.40 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Saga Prefecture'

The next series of Japanese furusato stamps takes us back to Kyushu Island. The focus is on Saga Prefecture.

Located in the northwest of Kyushu, Saga touches both the Sea of Japan and the Ariake Sea. The western part of the prefecture is a region famous for producing ceramics and porcelain. The top porcelain houses in Japan are located in the area around Arita, Imari, and Karatsu towns.

Apart from porcelaine and ceramics, Saga prefecture is well known for its fine Karatsu Castle, for historic Yayoi Village, and for the Yutoku Inari Shrine.

The Japan commemorative prefecture stamps on the left hand stamp sheet depict the following items:

  1. Okuma Shigenobu, twice former prime minister of the Empire of Japan. Also shown Imari Arita Yaki porcellain in the background.
  2. Yoshinogari Iseki Ruins, place of the Yayoi Period (300BC) moat encircled village found on top of a hill.
  3. Yutoku Inari Shrine in Kashima City, one of the top three biggest Inari shrines in Japan. Dating back to 1688, it is dedicated to the 'wily fox' deity Inari.
  4. Saga International Balloon Fiesta, held at the beginning of November
  5. Karatsu Kunchi Float Festival in Karatsu City

The stamp sheet's background shows the Ariake Sea, the largest bay in Kyushu.

Another fantastic sample of Japan commemorative stamps.

These Japanese commemorative prefecture stamps were issued on January 14, 2011.

Price: US$ 10.10 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Aomori Prefecture'

Aomori Prefecture on northernmost Honshu is featured on this commemorative prefecture stamps sheet. The prefecture faces the island of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait. It borders Akita and Iwate prefectures in the south.

Points of interest in Aomori Prefecture are Lake Towada, a crater lake, as well as, famous Oirase River Gorges. On the eastern side, the Shirakami Mountains contain the last virgin beech tree forest in Japan, home to over 87 species of birds alone.

The Shirakami Sanchi (white god mountain) beech tree virgin forest is nicely illustrated on the background of the Aomori commemorative prefecture stamps sheet. It is another Japanese world heritage site.

There is large number of tourist attractions in Aomori Prefecture. Among them are: Hirosaki Castle, the Aomori Big Buddha, the Nebuta Festival, the Hakkoda Death March Statue, and various power spots.

The Japan furusato stamps depicted on the left focus on:

  1. The Nebuta Floats Festival in Aomori and Aomori Nebuta Apples
  2. Hirosaki Castle, famous for its Cherry Blossom Festival
  3. Sansha Taisai Floats and Mikoshi Shrine Festival in the city of Hachinohe
  4. Lake Towada, the largest crater lake in Honshu, which drained by the picturesque Oirase River
  5. Kandachime Horse, a Japanese draft breed from Aomori. In the back, Shiriyazaki Lighthouse on Cape Shiriyazaki.

Issue date for these Japanese commemorative prefecture stamps was November 15, 2010.

Price: US$ 11.40 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Gifu Prefecture'

Our journey through Japan comes to Gifu prefecture. Located in the Chubu region of central Japan, it has long played an important part as the crossroads of the country, connecting the east to the west.

During the Sengoku Period (period of warring states), people referred to Gify by saying 'control Gifu and you control Japan.'

One of the few landlocked prefectures, Gifu shares borders with seven other prefectures and is dominated by the Hida Mountain Range.

Gifu boasts many major attractions of historical value, some of which are depicted on the Gifu commemorative prefecture stamps sheet below.

The most popular places are Gifu, Gero Hot Springs, Shirakawa Historic Villages, and Takayama, often described as 'Little Kyoto.' Gifu is also famous for Cormorant fishing, which has a history of over 1,300 years.

The background of this Japan commemorative stamps sheet features the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go with its gassho-zukkuri style farm houses; a must see.

The furusato stamps show the following images from Gifu:

  1. Cormorant fishing on the Nagara River in Gifu city. A 1,300 year old tradition were fishing masters use Japanese cormorants to catch Japanese ayu (sweetfish).
  2. Gifu Castle on Mt. Kinka. Built between 1201-1204, the original Gifu castle was mostly destroyed by WWII firebombings and has been reconstructed as a cement structure.
  3. The Yokokura Temple, famous for the mummy of Buddhist Myoshin who died 200 years ago.
  4. Mino-washi Akari Art Festival, annual Japanese paper lantern festival in Mino Town.
  5. Magome-juku, the 43rd of the 69 stations on the Nakasendo, an ancient road that connected Edo and Kyoto. It was a post town and still features many of the traditional period houses and residences.

These Japan furusato stamps were issued on June 18, 2010.

Price: US$ 11.80 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture stamps - Local Autonomy Law 'Fukui Prefecture'

The next Japan commemorative prefecture stamps sheet brings us to Fukui Prefecture on Honshu Island. Historically, Fukui is famous for its prehistoric dinosaur past.

The Kitadani Dinosaur Quarry, on the Sugiyama River near Katsuyama city, has yielded the the Fukuiraptor Kitadaniensis andthe Fukusaurus Tetoriensis, as well as, various other dromoaesaurids and sauropods.

Besides dinosaurs, Fukui is well know for its ancient paper-making industry and the historical sites of Maruoka Castle and Eiheiji Temple.

The following Japan furusato stamps are shown on this stamp sheet:

  1. Dinosaur and Tojinbo Cliffs, notoriously know for its reputation as a suicide spot. The cliffs date back 12-13 million years.
  2. Narcissus flowers at Echizen Suisen Park
  3. Mikata Goko Lakes near Wakasa Bay. There are five lakes: Mikata, Suigetsu, Suga, Kugushi, and Hiruga.
  4. Ichijodani Asakura Family Castle Ruins. The Asakura clan dominated the area for 103 years. Built in 1471, the Asakura castle town became a major cultural, military, and population center in Japan. The town was burnt down in 1573.
  5. Echizen Gani, Echizen crab from Wakasa Bay's clear waters.

The background image behind these Japan commemorative stamps depicts the Eiheiji Temple. Eiheiji means 'temple of eternal peace.'

It is a major temple of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism and was built around 1244.

These Japanese commemorative prefecture stamps were issued on August 9, 2010.

Price: US$ 10.10 (incl. shipping)

Commemorative Prefecture Stamps - Local Autonomy Act 'Aichi Prefecture'

Aichi Prefecture is commemorated on the next Japan furusato stamps sheet. The prefecture is located on Honshu Island. Its capital is the city of Nagoya.

The prefecture faces the Ise and Mikawa Bays to the south and borders Shizuoka to the east, Nagano and Gifu to the north, and Mie to the west.

The western part of Aichi is dominated by Nagoya, Japan's fourth largest city. Aichi is a major metropolitan and industrial center and is considered the fastest growing prefecture in terms of population, beating Tokyo.

Aichi Prefecture is not particularly know for its sites. However, it has a few notable sites such as the Meiji Mura village open-air museum, Inuyama Castle, and some scenic spots along the Atsumi Peninsula.

The background of this Japan furusato stamps sheet shows Inuyama Castle. Also known as 'Hakutei-jo' or 'white emperor castle' it sits on top of a hall overlooking the Kiso River. It is a national treasure and was built in 1537. It is the only privately owned castle in Japan and the oldest original wood castle.

The individual commemorative prefecture stamps depict:

  1. Kinshachi, considered the symbol of Nagoya. A golden Shachihoko , it is a mythical creature and good luck charm. In the back, the Atsumi peninsula and Iris Laevigata or Japanese Rabbit Ear Flower
  2. Otus Scops Owl
  3. Gingko Biloba, also known as Maidenhair tree
  4. Aichi's Seto-yaki, the most produced pottery in Japan
  5. Cerasus Subhirtella 'Semperflorens'

These Japan commemorative prefecture stamps were issued on October 4, 2010.

Price: US$ 10.10 (incl. shipping)

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