Furusato Prefecture Postage Stamps

This category is dedicated to old issues Japanese furusato prefecture postage stamps. Also known as hometown stamps, they are undoubtedly some of the most interesting and well designed stamps of Japan.

Due to numerous requests, we have added a section only dedicated to older Japanese furusato stamps dating back to the 1980s.

1960 National Park Series - Ashizuri Uwakai 

August 1, 1960

Price (single stamp): US$ 8.20

Free worldwide shipping

1961 National Park Series - Minami Boso

March 15, 1961

Price (single stamp): US$ 8.00

Free worldwide shipping

1999 - Matsumoto-jo Castle Taiko-mon Gate

The first first furusato prefecture postage stamp covers the Taiko-mon Gate of Matsumoto-jo Castle. The castle, also known as the `Crow Castle` because of its black exterior is one of Japan's premier castles. It is located in the city of Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture.

Dating back to the late 16th century, it is listed as a national treasure. A flatland castle, Matsumoto-jo maintains its original wooden interiors and external stonework.

The castle was damaged in a 5.4 magnitude quake on June 30, 2011. The quake caused around 10 cracks in the inner wall of the main tower.

The stamp to the left shows the castle's Taiko-mon Gate in the front. It is also known in English as the Drum Gate.

In the back, the castle's Tenshukaku or main keep is visible.

This furusato hometown stamp was issued in 1999.

Price (single stamp): US$ 9.20

Free worldwide shipping

1999 - Fukushima Nihonmatsu Kiku Ningyo Doll

The Fukushima Kiku Ningyo Doll event is featured on this beautiful Japanese furusato hometown stamp. Kiku is the Japanese word for the chrysanthemum flower.

The event is annualy held in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, and displays around 30,000 Kiku flowers. In addition, a 10 meter tall five story pagoda decorated with Kiku flowers is displayed at the Kasumiga-jo castle park.

Due to the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the festival was much smaller last year and the pagoda could not be decorated because there were not enough flowers.

The event is usually held between October and November and draws more than 100,000 visitors.

The Japanese furusato stamp to the left illustrates the flower decorated pagoda in the back and a Kiku Ningyo doll in the front.

Kiku cultivation has been popular in Nihonmatsu since the Edo period (1603-1867) and Kiku dolls had been used to adorn shrines and shopping streets.

This furusato prefecture postage stamp was issued in 1999.

Price (single stamp): US$ 9.50

Free worldwide shipping

1997 - Okayama-jo Castle

The next Japanese stamp shows Okayama-jo castle. It is located in the city of Okayama in Okayama Prefecture. Just like Matsumoto-jo castle to the far north, Okayama-jo is also known as the 'Crow Castle' or 'U-jo' due to its black exterior.

Apart from two watch towers, all of the castle was destroyed in 1945 during the WWII bombings. Only the main tower, originally dating from 1597, was replicated in concrete in 1966.

The original castle's construction started in 1573 and was completed by 1597. In the wake of the Meiji Restoration during the late 19th century, the outer moats were filled in and the castle walls gradually disappeared.

The Japanese stamp to the left illustrates the castle's reconstructed main keep.

Only a few parts of the castle's rood, including the fish-shaped gargoyles, are gilded in gold. Prior to the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, the main keep also had gilded roof tiles, earning it the nickname Golden Crow Castle.

This furusato hometown stamp was issued in 1997.

Price (single stamp): US$ 9.70

Free worldwide shipping

1997 - Marugame-jo Castle

Marugame-jo castle is featured on the following Japanese furusato hometown stamp. The castle is also known as Kameyama or Horai Castle. It is a hill-top castle located in Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture, on Shikoku Island.

The castle dates back to 1587, but was dismantled in 1615 due to a shogunate decree limiting the number of castles in each province. In 1644, it was rebuilt on the same spot under Yamazaki Ieharu.

In 1869, a fire swept through the castle and destroyed many buildings. Further destruction followed during the Meiji Period in 1870.

Besides the stone walls, few buildings remain today. One of them is the main keep depicted at the top of this furusato stamp.

Apart from that, the Ote Ichino and Ote Nino gates remain today. All of these buildings have been declared important cultural properties.

The castle is one of the few that still have an original wooden main keep built before 1860.

This furusato prefecture postage stamp was issued in 1997.

Price (single stamp): US$ 9.70

Free worldwide shipping

1996 - Asakusa Kaminari-mon Gate

The next furusato prefecture postage stamp features the famous Kaminari-mon Gate in Asakusa, Tokyo. The 'thunder gate' as it is known, is the outer of two large entrance gates that lead to the Senso-ji Buddhist temple.

Extremely popular with tourists, it stands 12 meters tall and 11 meters wide and covers an area of about 70 square meters.

First built in 941, it was originally located near Komagata and then reconstructed in its current location in 1635. Burnt to the ground three times in 1649, 1757, and again in 1865, it was rebuilt in 1960.

The furusato hometown stamp below shows a frontal view of the Kaminari-mon.

In the center, under the gate, hangs a giant red lantern that is 4 meters tall and 3 meters in circumference. It alone weighs about 670kg.

The front of the lantern displays the characters for the word 'Kaminarimon.'

The characters on the tablet above the lantern read from right to left and reference the Senso-ji Temple in the back.

The gate houses the statues of the Shinto gods of wind and thunder.

This Japanese furusato stamp was released in 1996.

Price (single stamp): US$ 9.90

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1995 - Tokyo University Akamon Gate

The University of Tokyo's famous`Red Gate' (Akamon) is featured on the next furusato prefecture postage stamp.

Tokyo University (abbreviated as Todai in Japanese) is considered the most prestigious institution of higher learning in Japan. Chartered in 1877, it was renamed Imperial University in 1886 and then Tokyo Imperial University in 1897. After WWII,the university was renamed back to Tokyo University in 1947.

Akamon was constructed in 1827 and is one of very few surviving structures from the Edo era. The gate was built and painted red in accordance with a custom observed at that time whenever a daughter of a Shogun married into one of the aristocratic families; in this case, the Maeda clan.

Only feudal lords of the highest stature were permitted to build gates of this size and style. It is the only gate of its kind remaining in Japan today.

It is a designated Japanese cultural property and located at the edge of the campus of Tokyo University in Bunkyo Ward Tokyo. The gate acts as an entrance to the campus.

This Japanese furusato stamp was issued in 1995.

Price (single stamp): US$ 10.10

Free worldwide shipping

1995 - Hida Takayama

The next furusato hometown stamp takes us to the picturesque town of Hida-Takayama. Commonly known as plain Takayama, it is located near the northern Japan Alps in Gifu Prefecture.

Takayama is famous for its well preserved old quarters with Edo-style streets, only rivaled by those of the city of Kanazawa.

The hometown stamps below illustrate well-known scenes from Takayama. The first and third stamp from the left show images from the famous Sanno Spring and Yahata Fall Festivals. Although the festivals' origins are unknown, it is said that they were first celebrated between 1586 and 1692. Both festivals feature a parade of large floats decorated with thick curtains, lacquer ware, and mechanical dolls.

The second of the pictured furusato prefecture postage stamps shows the Nakasendo walking trail. The trail linked Kyoto with Tokyo during Japan's feudal period. It was the road through the mountains as opposed to the Pacific coast Tokaido route.

To the right, the Hida Folk Village is depicted. Also known as Hida-no-Sato, it is an attractive open-air traditional mountain village museum. The highlights of the museum are the traditional thatched roof gassho-zukuri houses, built with roofs like hands in prayer to withstand the heavy snowfalls in this region.

These furusato prefecture postage stamps were issued in 1995.

Price (4 stamp set as shown): US$ 13.00

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1994 - Izumo Taisha

Another nice example of Japanese furusato prefecture postage stamps is the Izumo Taisha stamp. Izumo Taisha is one of the most ancient and important Shinto shrines in Japan and a designated national treasure of Japan.

Located in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, it is dedicated to the god Okuninushi, the Shinto deity of marriage.

There is no knowledge of exactly when the shrine was built, but records from the Heian period (950) describe the shrine as the highest building in Japan standing at 48 meters.

Though the shrine's construction cannot be exactly dated, Izumo Taisha was reconstructed in size in 1744. In the 18th and 19th century, the shrine became a central place of pilgrimage.

The main shrine structure was built in the Taisha style, the oldest style of building shrines.

Festivals in Izumo are a time when people gather around to fulfill their wish to live a happy life. One of the most important festivals is the Imperial Festival held in May of every year.

This furusato hometown stamp was released in 1994.

Price (single stamp): US$ 10.20

Free worldwide shipping

1994 - Matsushima

Another fine example of a beautiful Japanese furusato stamp. Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture is pictured on this hometown stamp.

Matsushima, which means`pine island' in Japanese, is a group of 260 tiny islands. All of them are covered in pines, hence the name. The islands are ranked as one of the three views of Japan.

The three views of Japan is the canonical list of Japan's three most celebrated scenic sites.

This Japanese stamp was issued in 1994.

Price (single stamp): US$ 9.20

Free worldwide shipping

1991 - Nasu no Yoichi

Pictured on the next Japanese furusato stamp is Nasu no Yoichi (1169-1232). Nasu was a samurai who fought alongside the Minamoto clan in the Genpei War.

He is famous for his actions at the Battle of Yashima in 1184. According to the Heike Story, the enemy Taira placed a fan atop the mast of one of their ships, claiming it protected from arrows and daring the Minamoto warriors to shoot it off. Nasu shot it down with one shot despite the rough sea.

After the Genpei War, he was made feudal lord of Tottori Castle. Later on, he became a Buddhist monk in the Jodo Shinshu sect.

Eventually, he formed a temple, which has since been passed down to the oldest son of the Nasu family.

This furusato prefecture postage stamp was issued in 1991.

Price (single stamp): US$ 10.80

Free worldwide shipping

1989 - Tokyo Station

Tokyo Eki or Tokyo Station is depicted on this Japanese furusato stamp. The station is located in Tokyo's Marunouchi district near the Imperial Palance grounds. It is the main rail terminal in Tokyo and the busiest station in Japan in terms of trains per day.

Construction on the station commenced in 1908 with a three story station building. It is said that the main building was fashioned after Amsterdam's main station.

Tokyo station opened on December 20, 1914 with four platforms. Much of the stations was destroyed in firebombing in 1945 but quickly rebuilt within a year after the end of the war.

The Tokyo station complex just underwent extensive development with the historic Marunouchi exit being restored to prewar condition.

The Tokyo Station furusato hometown stamp was issued in 1989.

Price (single stamp): US$ 10.70

Free worldwide shipping

1989 - Kumamoto-jo Castle

The following furusato hometown stamp takes us on a journey to Kumamoto on Kyushu Island. Depicted on this classical Japanese furusato stamp is Kumamoto castle.

The castle is considered one of the three premier castles in Japan. Along with Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle, Kumamoto-jo is a designated important cultural property.

Kumamoto-jo's history dates back to 1467 with first fortifications being established by Ideta Hidenobu.

By 1607, the castle complex was greatly expanded to include 49 turrets, 18 turret gates, and 29 smaller gates. In 1877, the castle was besieged during the Satsuma Rebellion and the keep was burned down.

The castle keep was reconstructed in 1960 using concrete.

This furusato prefecture postage stamp was issued in 1989.

Price (single stamp): US$ 9.10

Free worldwide shipping

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