Furusato Prefecture Stamps

Why are Japanese furusato prefecture stamps so popular among Japanese stamps collectors?

For one, the level of design and details put into each Japanese hometown stamps is quite extraordinary compared to all the other stamps of Japan.

Besides that, Japanese philatelic fans usually enjoy the stories and history behind each furusato stamp.

Furusato prefecture stamps allow us to experience the sights and scenes of this beautiful country without actually having to travel there, even though it is highly recommended.

One recurring theme that you will often find on Japanese hometown stamps are the combination of flowers and famous sites. Flowers have been playing an important part in Japanese culture. Much of the floral traditions in Japan date back thousands of years and are connected to certain events or activities such as 'hanami' (cherry blossom viewing) or flower arrangement ('ikebana').

Let's have a look at how flowers have been incorporated on some of the furusato prefecture stamps.

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Flowers and Scenery from the Tokai Region

The Tokai furusato prefecture stamps bring us to the well-known Tokai region of Japan.

The region belongs to the Chubu region on Honshu Island, facing the Pacific Ocean. The name means 'est sea' and comes from Tokaido, one of the Edo five routes linking Edo with the former imperial city of Kyoto.

These Japanese hometown stamps were issued on May 26, 2011.

The Tokai region includes the prefectures Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, and Mie.

The largest city in the region is Nagoya, Japan's third largest economic area. The Tokai is one of the most industrialized regions in Japan. Its coast is lined with densely populated cities and factories.

In 1944 and 1945, two large quakes hit the Tokai region causing tremendous damage.

The Tokai Japan furusato stamps sheet depicts each prefectures official flower together with a well-known prefecture sightseeing spot..

  1. Aichi Prefecture: Rabitt-ear Iris flower and Takeshima Island in the back. The island with a verdant forest is a designated natural treasure. It is accessible via the pictured Takeshima Bridge.
  2. Gifu Prefecture: Chinese Milk Vetch or Renge is the prefecture flower. Pictured in the back, UNESCO World Heritage Site 'Shirakawa-go' farmer village.
  3. Nagoya City: Lily flower and Nagoya castle in the back. Constructed on the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu to secure the Tokaido road and completed in 1612. Most of it was burnt down during the WWII air raids on Nagoya.
  4. Mie Prefecture: Iris Ensata flower in front. In the back, the Meoto Iwa, also called the 'loved-one and loved-one rocks.' They are joined by shimenawa, a rice straw rope and are considered sacred by worshipers of the nearby Futami Okitama shrine.
  5. Shizuoka Prefecture: Azaleas flowers and Omaezaki Lighthouse in Omaezaki City. The first lighthouse was built in 1635 under the Tokugawa shogunate to prevent accidents. The current lighthouse was constructed from 1872-74 and was bombed by the US Navy during WWII causing damage to its structure.

Price: US$ 15.70

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Flowers of the Chugoku Region

The following Japanese furusato stamps take us on a tour through the Chugoku region of Japan. The focus is on prominent flowers and places of the five Chugoku region's prefectures.

The Chugoku region, also known as the San'in Sanyo region, is the westernmost region of Honshu Island. It consists of the prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi.

Chugoku literally means 'middle country,' although the origin of the name remains unclear. The Japanese characters for Chugoku, namely 中国, are also used for the country China. The Chinese themselves use the same characters.

The Chugoku region is famous for sightseeing.

The furusato prefecture stamps on this sheet depict the following scenes:

  1. Tottori Prefecture: Beautiful Yumiga-hama Beach and the 'Nijiseki' 20th century pear flower, a unique type of wild Asian apple pear that was discovered more than a 100 years ago.
  2. Shimane Prefecture: Paeonia suffruticosa or Japanese Tree Peony and Cape Hinomisaki with its lighthouse.
  3. Okayama Prefecture: Peach Blossom Flower and the Seto Ohashi Big Bridge connecting Honshu Island across the Seto Inland Sea with Shikoku Island.
  4. Hiroshima Prefecture: Maple Tree leaves and Miya-jima island, also known as Itsukushima. It belongs to the 'three views of Japan' and is a UNESCO world heritage site. The famous red Torii or Shinto shrine gate is at the bottom of this furusato prefecture stamp.
  5. Yamaguchi Prefecture: Summer Tangerine Blossoms and natural monument Oumi-jima Island with its fantastically-shaped rocks.

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These Japanese hometown stamps were issued on March 28, 2012.

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Flowers of Kanagawa Prefecture II

Cities and their flowers is the theme of the Kanagawa Prefecture Japan furusato stamps sheet.

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

Geographically, the prefecture consists of the mountainous western region with the Tanzawa range and Hakone Volcano, the eastern region with the Tama Hills and Miura Peninsula, and the central region with its low lands and major rivers such as the Sagami and Sakai rivers.

The Kanagawa Prefecture Japanese hometown stamps feature the following images of well-known cities and their flowers:

  1. Azaleas, flower of Chigasaki City, a well-known surfers town. View of Mt. Fuji and the 'Hat-shaped Rock.'
  2. Narcissus, flower of Oimachi Town. View of pine trees along Sakawa river in the back.
  3. Large Pink Dianthus, flower of Hadano City. View of Tanzawa mountain range in the back.
  4. Japanese Bellflower, flower of Isehara City. View of Mt. Fuji in the back.

These Japan furusato prefecture stamps were issued on August 12, 2011.

Price: US$ 23.10

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Fruits of the Kanto Region

The next Japan furusato stamps cover the 'fruits of the Kanto region.' The Kanto region is a part of the main island of Honshu.

The region includes the greater Tokyo area and encompasses seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. Approximately more than forty percent of the Kanto region's land is located on the Kanto Plain. About one third of the Japanese population alone lives in the Kanto region (around 43 million).

The Kanto area was the heartland of feudal power during the Kamakura and Edo periods and, subsequently, became the center of modern development.

Price: US$ 23.10

In 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake claimed more than 100,000 lives and ravaged the Tokyo and Yokohama areas.

During WWII, the proposed Allied Forces invasion of Japan was originally scheduled to land at the Kanto plain. To this day, most of the US military bases are situated on the Kanto plain.

The name Kanto literally means 'East of the Barrier.'

The Japanese hometown stamps on the left show various fruits and well-known places of five of the seven prefectures in Kanto.

  1. Ibaraki Prefecture: Plum and Fukuroda Waterfalls in Daigo Town.
  2. Tochigi Prefecture: Strawberry and the 100m high Kegon Waterfall in Nikko.
  3. Gunma Prefecture: Apple and Oze marshlands.
  4. Saitama Prefecture: Pear and Nagatoro River in Nagatoro Town, famous for white-water rafting.
  5. Chiba Prefecture: Japanese loquat and cliffs at Byoubugaura.

These Japan furusato prefecture stamps were issued on February 23, 2012

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Fukui Prefecture 'Tojinbo'

Featured on the next Japan furusato stamps are the Tojinbo Cliffs and Echizen Crab from Fukui Prefecture.

Fukui is located in the Chubu region of the main island of Honshu. It is famous for its pre-historic fossils and many natural treasures and world heritage sites such as Maruoka Castle and Eiheiji Temple.

The images featured on these Japanese hometown stamps are:

  1. Echizen Crab: also known as Chionoecetes or snow crab. Besides the Sea of Japan, they live in the northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Echizen was an old province of Japan, which is today the northern part of Fukui Prefecture. Echizen Crabs are considered a delicacy in Japan.
  2. Tojinbo Cliffs: a series of surreal, eerie basaltic cliffs on the Sea of Japan. They are located in Mikuni Town, Sakai district. The cliffs stretch for 1km. The cliffs were originally formed 12-13 million years agodue to volcanic activity. Legend has it that a corrupt Buddhist priest enraged the populace so much that he was thrown from the cliffs into the sea. Unfortunately, Tojinbo is also a well-known place to commit suicide.

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Issue date for these Japan furusato prefecture stamps was March 24, 2011.

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Hokkaido Flowers

The northernmost prefecture and Japan's biggest island Hokkaido is the theme of the next Japan furusato stamps.

Hokkaido is located at the north end of Japan, near Russia, and has coastlines on the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Pacific Ocean. The center is made up of a number of mountains and volcanic plateaus.The island ranks 21st in the world by area.

Hokkaido is famous for its fantastic undisturbed forests and national parks such as the Shiretoko National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage ares since 2005.

Hokkaido features a mostly humid continental climate and, as such, is home to a great variety of plants and flowers.

The Hokkaido furusato prefecture stamps show the following flowers:

  1. Rosa Rugosa Japanese Rose
  2. Lavender
  3. Caltha Palustris or Marsh Marigold
  4. Lily of the Valley

These Japanese hometown stamps were issued on February 23, 2012.

Price: US$ 16.50

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Flowers of the Kinki Region

The flowers of the Kinki region are another nice example of furusato prefecture stamps.

The Kinki region is also known as the Kansai region. It lies in the southern-central region of Honshu Island. The region includes the prefectures Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Shiga. Sometimes, depending on who makes the distinction, Fukui, Tokushima, and even Tottori Prefectures are also included.

The Kinki region is said to be the cultural and historical heart of Japan. Most designated national treasures are located in Kinki.

The Kinki Japanese hometown stamps feature one prominent flower for six of the prefectures located in Kansai.

  1. Osaka: Primrose
  2. Nara: Prunus Speciosa or Japanese Oshima Cherry
  3. Hyogo: Japanese Chrysanthemum
  4. Shiga: Rhododendron
  5. Wakayama: Japanese Plum Apricot
  6. Kyoto: Cerasus Spachiana or Weeping Cherry

These Japanese furusato prefecture stamps were issued on February 23, 2012.

Price: US$ 17.50

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Flowers of Okinawa

The following Japan furusato prefecture stamps feature flowers representative of the Okinawa Islands.

Okinawa and its islands are located in a subtropical region. The islands experience temperatures above 20 degrees celsius for most of the year. As a consequence, the islands contain some of the most abundant coral reefs, as well as, flora and fauna found in the world.

Apart from that Okinawa Prefecture is a major producer sugar cane, pineapple, papaya, and other tropical fruits.

The Japanese furusato prefecture stamps on the left show a variety of exotic flowers that can be found on Okinawa. They are:

  1. Hikanzakura (Prunus campanulata maxim) and view from Mt. Yaedake over Iejima Island
  2. Hibiscus and over-sea road
  3. Bougainvillea and residence in Tsuboya
  4. Trumpet Lily and Cape Higashihennazai on Miyako-jima Island
  5. Rhododendron and Seishika Bridge on Ishigaki Island.

The right side of this Japanese hometown stamps sheet shows Okinawa's famous blue skies, turquoise waters, and a map of the islands.

At the bottom right hand corner, a picture of the Okinawan Deigo flower tree (Indian Coral Bean), the symbol of Okinawa Prefecture. Its trunk is used to make material for traditional Ryukyuan lacquerware.

These Japan furusato stamps were issued on February 23, 2012.

Price: US$ 12.40

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Flowers of the Echigo Region

Flowers of the Echigo region are covered on this furusato prefecture stamps sheet.

Echigo is sometimes referred to as Echigo province. It was an old province in north-central Japan, on the shores of the Sea of Japan.

Today the area is part of Niigata Prefecture. Echigo was established at the end of the 7th century. It occupied the northeast part of Niigata Prefecture.

Flowers shown on each of the Japanese hometown stamps are those that bloom in spring and summer in the Echigo province.

  1. Camellia Rusticana at Mt. Kamo Park in Kamo City (Chuetsu Region)
  2. Sweet-root at Onokame Big Rock Waterfall near Ryotsu Town on Sado Island
  3. Fleur de Lis or Iris Flower at Ijimino Park in Shibata City
  4. Schizocodon Soldanelloides and Mt. Myoko near Myoko City

These Japan furusato stamps were issued on February 23, 2012.

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Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Fowers of the Hokuriku Region

The below Japanese furusato prefecture stamps celebrate the flowers of the Hokuriku region on Honshu Island.

The Hokuriku region is located in the northwestern part of Honshu. It lies along the Sea of Japan and was part of the Koshi Province and Hokurikudo area in old Japan. The region includes the four prefectures of Ishikawa, Fukui, Niigata, and Toyama. Although, Niigata is sometimes left out, depending on who you ask.

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The Hokuriku region has the highest volume of snowfall of any inhabited and arable region in the world. This is because dry Siberian air amasses high humidity over the Sea of Japan and, subsequently, collides with the mountains of Honshu, causing heavy snow. Despite this rough climate, Hokuriku boats a large variety of plant life.

The Japanese furusato stamps show flowers from the Hokuriku region prefectures of Toyama, Ishikawa, and Fukui.

  1. Tulip
  2. Japanese Hydrangea
  3. Alpine Rose
  4. Flower de Luce or Lily

All of the flowers above bloom between spring and summer.

Issue date for these Japan furusato prefecture stamps was May 20, 2011.

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Kanto Flower Journey

The next Japan furusato stamps take us on a journey to see the flowers of the Kanto Region.

As mentioned above, the region includes the greater Tokyo area and encompasses seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. Approximately more than forty percent of the Kanto region's land is located on the Kanto Plain. About one third of the Japanese population alone lives in the Kanto region (around 43 million).

The Japanese hometown stamps on the left sample well-know flowers from the Kanto region prefectures of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, and Chiba. All of them bloom between May and June of each year. In detail, the images show:

  1. Japanese Rose and Mt. Tsukuba, Ibaraki, in the back; one of the most famous mountains in Japan with a double peak. Also called the purple mountain for its panoramic views of the Kanto plain.
  2. Rhododendron Pentaphyllum, flower of Tochigi Prefecture, and Lake Chuzenji in the back; it is a 20,000 years old scenic lake near Nikko National Park.
  3. Japanese Rhododendron Mollum, found in Gunma Prefecture, and Mt. Akagi in the background; strato-volcano with a caldera that is also worshiped. The WWII Japanese aircraft carrier 'Akagi' that participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor and was sunk in the Battle of Midway is named after this mountain.
  4. Primrose or Primula Sieboldii in Saitama Prefecture. In the background, Tashimagahara primrose fields.
  5. Rape Blossoms in Chiba Prefecture. In the back, the Noshimazaki lighthouse; built in 1869, one of few western-style lighthouses in Japan.

Price: US$ 16.50

These Japan furusato prefecture stamps were issued on May 31, 2010.

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Flowers from Kanto

The 'flowers from Kanto' Japan furusato stamps below follow the same concept as the above 'Kanto flower journey' furusato prefecture stamps.

Once again, this furusato prefecture stamps sheet takes us to Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, and Chiba to experience notable flowers and sights of each prefecture.

The furusato stamps shown on the sheet depict the following images:

  1. Ibaraki Prefecture: Japanese Rose 'Rosa Rugosa' and and bountiful nature of Kashima-nada Plateau Area Park
  2. Tochigi Prefecture: Japanese Dog's Tooth Violet and Nasu Mountain Range, a group of complex volcanoes located in Nikko National Park.
  3. Gunma Prefecture: White Arum and Oze, one of the most popular marshlands in Japan. It is located on the border between Gunma and Fukushima Prefectures.
  4. Saitama Prefecture: Cherry Blossoms and Nagatoro Rover, a well know river for its rapids and whitewater rafting.
  5. Chiba Prefecture: Poppy and Boso Flowerline, the beach road from Tateyama to Chikura in southern Chiba.

These Japanese hometown stamps were issued on January 16, 2012.

Price: US$ 11.30

Furusato Prefecture Stamps - Flowers from the Four Seasons in Tokyo

This is the third installment in the 'Flowers from the Four Seasons in Tokyo' series.

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The Japanese hometown stamps sheet focuses on the following flowers and trees which can be found in and around Tokyo:

  1. Azaleas: part of the Rhododendron family. They bloom in spring for several weeks. Shade tolerant, they prefer living near or under trees.
  2. Japanese Liliy: Lilium Auratum is one of the true lilies. It is native to Japan and is sometimes called the golden rayed lily of Japan or the goldband lily.
  3. Crape Myrtle: Lagerstroemia, cultivated in warmer climates around the world. Named after the Swedish merchant Lagerstroem.
  4. Gingko Biloba: considered a living fossil. A highly unusual non-flowering plant. Related to the seed fern, the Gingko dates back 270 million years.

These Japan furusato prefecture stamps were issued on October 3, 2011.

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