Furusato Stamps

There is a wide variety of Japanese furusato stamps. Besides the popular furusato travel scenes series and the furusato scenes in my heart series, there are numerous beautiful Japanese hometown stamps illustrating everything from local flora and fauna to indigenous wildlife to festivals etc.

In the following, we provide you with a nice sample of Japanese hometown stamps for your Japanese postage stamp collection. You don't need to be a hardcore Japan philatelist. If you are looking for exotic yet interesting stamp designs and images, look no further. Each furusato kitte is a collectible in itself.

Furusato Stamps - Modern Haiku Matsuyama

The hometown of modern haiku poetry, Matsuyama, is the theme of this beautifully designed Japanese furusato stamps sheet.

Matsuyama is located in Ehime Prefecture on Shikoku Island. The city is known for its famous castle and the traditional Dogo Onsen hot springs. Haiku is a very short form of Japanese poetry.

Depicted on the furusato hometown stamps are five haiku poems by four famous poets, all of whom are closely conntected to the city of Matsuyama.

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Each one of these Japan stamps, features a haiku and a background image relevant to the poem.

  1. Masaoka Shiki, 1867-1902. It is the pen-name of Masaoka Noboru. He was a Japanese poet, author, and literary critic during the Meiji period. He is regarded as a major figure in the development of modern haiku poetry.
  2. Masaoka Shiki
  3. Takahama Kyoshi, 1874-1959. His real name being Kiyoshi, he was one of the closest disciples of Masaoka Shiki. Kyoshi was active during the Showa period.
  4. Natsume Souseki, 1867-1916. Born as Natsume Kinnosuke, he is widely considered to be the foremost Japanese novelist of the Meiji period. He was also a composer of Haiku and Chinese-style poetry. His portrait was on the Japanese 1000 yen note from 1984-2004.
  5. Kawahigashi Hekigoto, 1873-1937. Born Kawahigashi Heigoro, he was a pioneer of modern haiku. Together with Takahama Kiyoshi, he was a discipline of Masaoka Shiki. Hekigoto published two books of Haiku commentary.

The left site of this furusato stamps sheet features Matsuyama-jo Castle at the top and the poets Shiki, Kiyoshi, Souseki, and Hekigoto at the bottom

These Japan furusato stamps were issued on September 1, 2009.

Furusato Stamps - Birds of the North

The below Japan furusato stamps show some of the more prominent birds of north Japan.

The animals depicted on these Japan furusato stamps are:

  1. Sea Eagle
  2. Tufted Puffin
  3. Blakiston's Fish Owl
  4. Japanese Red Crested White Crane

Issue date for these furusato hometown stamps was February 23, 2012.

Price: US$ 10.80 

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Furusato Stamps - Port and Yokohama

The below Japanese furusato stamps cover the city of Yokohama and its historic port area.

Yokohama, the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture, is the second largest city in Japan after Tokyo. It lies on Tokyo Bay and is a major commercial hub.

Following the end of Japan's relative isolation in the mid-19th century during the Meiji-Period, Yokohama rapidly developed into one of the country's major ports alongside Kobe, Osaka, and Nagoya.

During the Edo feudal period, Yokohama was a small fishing village, having little contact with foreigners. In 1853-54, US Commodore Perry arrived with a fleet of warships basically forcefully opening up the country for commerce. As a consequence, Yokohama port was opened in 1859 quickly making the city the base of foreign trade in Japan. Foreigners resided in an extraterritorial district called 'Kannai,' now a famous Yokohama sightseeing area.

On September 1, 1923, much of Yokohama was destroyed by the Great Kanto earthquake.

In 1983, Yokohama started with the construction of Minato Mirai 21 (Port Future 21), a major development project on reclaimed land. Ten years later, the Yokohama Landmark Tower was opened, the tallest building in Japan.

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The left of the two furusato hometown stamps depicts Yokohama Port around 1860. Besides a foreign trading ship in front, the back shows the famous red-brick warehouses, Mount Fuji, and a foreign flag raised on top of Kannai building.

The Japan furusato stamp on the right shows the ultra modern Yokohama Minato Mirai skyline in the back, a cruise ship, and a foreign lady wearing a period costume.

Issue date for the Port and Yokohama furusato stamps was April 6, 2012.

Furusato Stamps - Glover Garden

Glover Garden in Nagasaki City is featured on these Japan furusato stamps.

Nagasaki, capital of Nagasaki Prefecture, is located on Kyushu Island. The city was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century. It became a center of Portuguese and European influence in Japan though to the 19th century. During WWII, the atomic bombing made Nagasaki the second city to experience a nuclear attack.

Glover Garden is a park in Nagasaki built for Thomas Blake Glover, a Scottish entrepreneur who contributed to modernize Japan in the fields of shipbuilding and mining. Within the park, the Glover Residence is the oldest Western style house surviving in Japan and the city's main tourist attraction.

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The Glover Residence was completed in 1863 and is now an important cultural asset. It is also known as Madame Butterfly House since the house and its surroundings are reminiscent of Puccini's opera.

The residence is noted for its blend of Western and Japanese elements and is a fine example of a Japanese treaty port building. It resembles other one-story bungalows used by foreigners in Hongkong and Shanghai.

The Japan stamps shown on the sheet depict the following houses:

  1. former Alt Residence to the left; Alt was a well-known British merchant in Nagasaki.
  2. former Ringer Residence in the middle; Ringer was the leader of the Nagasaki foreign settlement after Glover.
  3. former Glover Residence to the right

Flowers shown are hydrangeas, roses, and tulips.

The Japanese furusato hometown stamps were issued on March 24, 2011

Furusato Stamps - Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

The Kumano Kodo furusato hometown stamp below commemorates sections of the Kumano Kodo leading through Wakayama prefecture.

Kumano Kodo or Kumano pilgrimage trail refers to a network of trails through the southern Kansai region. The Kodo ('old ways') are part of the region's UNESCO designation and have been used for over 1000 years. They are the only pilgrimage routes besides the Camino de Santiago to be designated a world heritage site.

The pilgrimage routes developed as a way for people to move between the sacred areas on the Kii peninsula.

At the center of this religious area are the three Kumano shrines Hongu Taisha, Hayatama Taisha, and the Nachi Taisha. Collectively, they are known as Kumano Sanzan.

By the 12th century, the Kumano Sanzan were well known shrines drawing pilgrims from the Kyoto and Osaka area.

More than just a trail, the Kumano Kodo were designed to be a religious experience often passing through difficult and even dangerous mountain terrains.

This Japan furusato stamp shows pilgrims wearing traditional travel attire walking along the Kumano trail.

Issue date for this Japanese furusato stamp is April 6, 2012.

Price (single stamp): US$ 8.20 

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Furusato Stamps - Tokyo Famous Places and Flowers

Tokyo famous places and flowers is a collection of five Japanese furusato stamps illustrating some of the more notable sightseeing spots in and around the Tokyo.

The first furusato hometown stamp shows an image of Tokyo tower with winter sweets blossoms in front.

The second furusato stamp features Niju-bashi Bridge in front of the imperial palace gates. The flowers depicted are Orychophragmus Violaceus flowers, a species native to Japan, Korea, and China.

The next homeland stamp holds an image of Jingu-gaien grounds and orange osmanthus flowers.

Furusato stamp four brings us to Lake Okutama with its Lindow flowers.

The last stamp depicts Nihonbashi Bridge in Tokyo and camellia flowers.

These Japan furusato stamps were issued on April 6, 2012.

Price (sheet): US$ 15.70 

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Furusato Stamps - Clione, Angles of the Drift Ice

Another interesting furusato hometown stamps sheet, this one centers aorund the Clione. Clione is a small floating sea slug. Its scientific name is 'pelagic marine gastropod mollusks.'

Clione mostly live in cold, artic-type waters. In Japan, their habitat is the drift ice of the northern Pacific off the coast of Hokkaido.

There are two races of clione that differ in body length. The northern race lives in cold water and is about 70-85mm in size. The southern race is much smaller at 12mm.

Clione solely feed on sea butterflies. However, they can go without food for a year, in which case their size will shrink to 12mm on average.

Plankton feeders such as Baleen Whales feed off clione, which led sailors to refer to them as whale-food.

These Japanese furusato stamps were issued on March 24, 2011.

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Furusato Stamps - Fuji Five Lakes

The Fuji Five Lakes stamp is a classic in beauty among Japanese furusato hometown stamps.

The Five Lakes area is located at the base of Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture. The name Fuji Five Lakes comes from the fact that there are five lakes formed by previous eruptions of Mt. Fuji.

The five lakes are located in an arc around the northern half of Mt. Fuji. In ancient times, lava flow spread across the area resulting in the formation of these lakes.

The five lakes shown on these Japan furusato stamps are:

  1. Lake Yamanaka -the easternmost and largest of the five lakes. It is also the third highest lake in Japan, standing at 980 meters above seas level.
  2. Lake Kawaguchi - the most famous of the five lakes. Images are usually used for posters and commercials.
  3. Lake Saiko - the western side of Lake Saiko shares its banks with the infamous Aokigahara Jukai Forest (infamous for the high numbers of suicides committed here).
  4. Lake Shoji - the smallest of the five lakes. Remnants of lava flow can be seen out of the water.
  5. Lake Motosu - at 140 meters, the ninth deepest lake in Japan.

Issue date for these Japanese furusato stamps is February 23, 2012

Price (sheet): US$ 23.10 

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Furusato Stamps - 21st Century Tokyo Seasonal Sights

The 21st Century Tokyo Seasonal Sights furusato hometown stamps were designed based on input from Tokyo residents. The idea was to captures sights and images that are reflected in the residents' daily life.

The furusato stamps on the left feature the following images and scenes:

  1. Spring: The clean waters of Tama River
  2. Summer: Sanja Mikoshi Festival in Asakusa
  3. Fall: Colonnade of gingko trees on the Jingu-gaien grounds
  4. Winter: Night view of Tokyo. The Tokyo Bay Bridge and Tokyo Tower can be seen in the background.
  5. Nature of the Ogasawara Islands - an island archipelago 1000km south of Tokyo that is administered by the capital city. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and renowned for its natural beauty.

The above Japan stamps were issued on February 23, 2012.

Price (sheet): US$ 17.50

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Furusato Stamps - Odawara Castle

The Odawara-jo or Odawara Castle is featured on this Japanese furusato stamps sheet. Odawara, part of today's Kanagawa Prefecture, was the stronghold of the Doi clan during the Kamakura period.

Throughout the centuries, the castle came under the control of various different warring clans

During the Muromachi period, the castle had very strong defenses and was fortified through moats, dry ditches, banks, etc.

During the battle of Odawara in 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi sacked the castle after a three months siege and had most fortifications destroyed.

The Meiji government in the 19th century, in an attempt to abolish the feudal samurai system, ordered all castles to be demolished. As such, all structures of the Odawara castle were pulled down from 1870-1872.

In 1950, repairs were made to the remaining stone bases. Over the years, several buildings were restored and now make up what is known as the Odawara castle park.

The Japan furusato stamps on the left show the castle donjon and the castle's Akagane Gate.

This Japan furusato hometown stamps sheet was issue on March 1, 2011.

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Furusato Stamps - Tohoku Region Scenic Sites

Most Japanese stamp collectors prefer Japanese stamps that show exotic and typical Japanese looking images. The Tohoku furusato hometown stamp caters to such preferences with images of traditional Japanese castles, ornate temples, and beautiful landscapes and flowers.

For those not familiar with this region, Tohoku sadly gained the world's attention due to being severely affected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The region occupies the northeastern portion of Honshu and consists of the prefectures Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and Yamagata. It has a reputation as a remote region, offering breathtaking scenery but a harsh climate.

Issue date of these Japan furusato stamps was August 12, 2011.

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The Tohoku scenic sites furusato stamps pick notable images from the region. They are:

  1. Oirase Keiryu - The Oirase Gorge is located in eastern Amomori Prefecture. The upper reaches of the Oirase river form a scenic gorge with numerous rapids and waterfalls and is one of the major tourist attractions of that area.
  2. Hirosaki-jo and Cherry Blossoms - Hirosaki-jo is a 17th century castle located in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture. It is a designated historical and cultural property and famous for its cherry blossom festival.
  3. Chusonji Temple (with Konjiki-do) and Leaf Foilage - located in Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture, it is a 9th century Buddhist temple owned by the Tendai sect. The Konjiki-do or Golden Hall is considered one of the most beautiful and elaborately decorated buildings in the world. It serves as a mausoleum for the then ruling Fujiwara-clan lords.
  4. Jodogahama and Lily Flower - Jodogahama Beach or Pure Land Beach is one of the most famous places of scenic beauty on the Rikuchu Coast in Iwate Prefecture. The vivid contrast of the white rocks, green pines, and deep blue sea has been compared to paradise.
  5. Matsushima Islands and Field Mustard - Matsushima is a group of islands in Miyagi Prefecture . There are some 260 tiny islands covered in Japanese pines or matsu. It is considered as one of the top three views in Japan.
  6. Zao no Okama and Komakusa Flower - Zao is the collective name given to the area surrounding Mt. Zao in Miyagi Prefecture. The crater lake that is considered the symbol of the Zao mountain range still spews out sulfuric matter. Although its water appears emerald green as seen on the stamp, it changes to cobalt blue depending on sunlight.
  7. Oga Hanto Peninsula and Nadeshiko Flower - a rugged peninsula it stretches from the coast of Akita Prefecture in northern Honshu west into the Sea of Japan. At the base of Oga Hanto lies Hachirogata, the second largest lake in Japan. The peninsula is famous for its Namahage demon festival.
  8. Mt. Chokai-san and Nikkokisuge Flower - Mt.Chokai is an active volcano located on the southern border of Akita and Yamagata prefectures. Because of its symmetrical shape and massive size, it is also known as Akita Fuji.
  9. Oze Greenland and a Japanese Skunk Cabbage Flower - an area of open greenland and marshes belonging to Oze National Park. It is Japan's largest high moor. Trails of wooden walkways are laid out through patches of bog plants to serve as hiking paths
  10. Mt. Gassan and Safflower - Mt. Gassan is the highest of the three mountains of Dewa in the ancient province of Dewa, today's Yamagata prefecture. The Gassan shrine stands at the mountain's summit.

A truly remarkable collection of Japanese furusato hometown stamps.

Furusato Stamps - Nagara River and Gifu-jo

Another fine example of Japanese stamps. The Nagara River and Gifu-jo castle furusato hometown stamps feature classic Japanese traditional images.

The Nagara River has its source in the city of Gujo, Gifu Prefecture, and its mouth in the city of Kuwana, Mie Prefecture. Along with the Kiso and Ibi rivers, the Nagara is one of the Kiso Three Rivers. The River has a length of 166 kilometers.

The Nagara River is famous for its ancient tradition of Cormorant fishing; a tradition dating back 1300 years.

The first of the two furusato stamps on the left show fishermen engaging in Cormorant fishing at night.

Fishing master use Cormorant to catch fish, primarily sweetfish or ayu. Because of the great skills involved, masters have received the hereditary title 'Cormorant Fishermen of the Imperial Household Agency.'

The second Japan furusato stamp depicts Gifu-jo castle located in Gifu-City, Gifu Prefecture.

The castle was first built by the Nikaido clan between 1201 and 1204 during the Kamakura Period. Over the centuries, it has gone though many repairs, but was destroyed by the fire bombings of WWII.

The present-day structure is a cement structure built in the 1950s.

These Nagara River and Gifu-jo furusato hometown stamps were issued on January 21, 2011.

Price (sheet): US$ 17.50

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Furusato Stamps - Yamanashi Scenes

The next Japan stamps sheet introduces us to Yamanashi Prefecture and some of its prominent sights. Yamanashi is located in the Chubu region of the main island Honshu.

The prefecture is bordered by Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Shizuoka, and Nagano prefectures; basically, a landlocked prefecture.

Mt. Fuji is located on its southern border with Shizuoka.

Roughly 30% of Yamanashi's land is made up of designated natural parks.

It is also a well known tourist destination due to its excellent local wineries, hot springs, parks, and historic temples. Eco tourism has also become a major attraction.

Some spectacular nature scenes from Yamanashi are shwon on these furusato hometown stamps.

  1. Yatsugatake Mountain Range and Cherry Blossoms: According to legend, Yatsugatake was once higher than Mt. Fuji. However, Fuji rose up and threw down its rival leaving the collection of peaks as exist today. Yatsugatake, born of powerful volcanic eruptions, is indeed older than Mt. Fuji.
  2. Katsunuma Grapes: Katsunuma is the center of wine culture in Japan. The local Koshu grapes have been grown here for more than 1200 years. The Katsunuma area has approximately 750ha of vineyards and boasts around 30 unique wineries. Yamanashi Prefecture used to be known as Kofu. As such, the name of the local grape is Kofu grape.
  3. Shosenkyou Gorge and Japanese Azaleas: the gorge near the city of Kofu is considered to be Japan's most beautiful gorge. It is part of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. The gorge is particularly beautiful during the autumn leaf season from late October to mid November.
  4. Mt. Fuji and Lavender fields: the highest mountain in Japan at 3776m. It is an active strato-volcano that last erupted in 1707-08. Its symmetrical snow capped cone is a symbol of Japan.
  5. Southern Japanese Alps and local peaches: the southern Japanese Alps are also referred to as Akaishi Mountains because there are a lot of red stones (aka-ishi).

The Yamanashi Japan furusato stamps were issued on October 3, 2011.

Price (sheet): US$ 13.60

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Furusato Stamps - History and Culture 'Matsuyama'

The historic city of Matsuyama is the theme of the following very interesting Japanese furusato stamps. Matsuyama is the capital of Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. Its name means 'pine mountain.'

The city is well known for its onsen hot springs and its superb castle. Eight of the 88 temples in the Shikoku Pilgrimage are in Matsuyama.

The furusato hometown stamps feature the probably most famous attractions in Matsuyama city.

On the right hand side of the furusato stamp sheet reference is made to Matsuyama-jo Castle. Originally built in 1603, it survived the Meiji-Period Restoration with its destruction of most castles in Japan. It is one of the most beautiful castles in Japan.

Below the castle, a picture of Masaoka Shiki, pen-name of Masaoka Noboru. He was a Japanese author, poet, and literary critic. He is considered to be the major figure in the development of the Japanese 'haiku' poem. Born in Matsuyama, he lived from 1867 to 1902. Interestingly enough, he also played baseball as a teen and was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. Masaoka died of TB at age 35.

Next, an image of Dogo Onsen hot springs. It is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan dating back 1000 years. The present day Dogo building was built in 1894. Constructed on three levels remains very popular among locals and visitors alike.

The last image shows the Botchan Ressha, a diesel powered replica of a small gauge steam locomotive. Originally installed in the city in 1888 as the Iyo Railway, it was the first of its kind in Shikoku. The original steam locomotive was built in Munich, Germany and imported into Japan. Today, the Botchan is a major tourist attraction.

The furusato stamps on the left show Masaoka Noboru and the Botchan Ressha.

These Japan stamps were issued on March 28, 2012.

Price (sheet): US$ 12.90

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Furusato Stamps - Tojinbo and Echizen Crabs

Featured on the next Japan furusato hometown 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 Japan furusato 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.

These Japanese furusato stamps were issued on March 24, 2011.

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