Special Japan Stamps

Part of the commemorative Japan stamps category, special Japan stamps convince with their attention to details and with their vibrant colors, reminiscent of actual photographic images.

In the following, we have listed some notable old issues special Japan stamps, among them, the famous and beautifully designed 'International Letter Writing Week' and the 'World Heritage' Stamp series.

Special Japan Stamps - 1959 International Letter Writing Week

October 4, 1959


Price: US$ 16.50 (Free worldwide shipping)

Special Japan Stamps - 1963 International Letter Writing Week 'Kanagawa'

October 6, 1963


Price: Sold-out

Special Japan Stamps - 1964 International Letter Writing Week 

October 4, 1964


Price: US$ 10.10 (Free worldwide shipping)

Special Japan Stamps - 1977 International Letter Writing Week

October 1, 1977


Price: US$ 10.70 (Free worldwide shipping)

Special Japan Stamps - World Heritage Series 2 Vol. 10 Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Ryukyu Kingdom

Volume 10 of the second World Heritage Series features the Ryukyu Kingdom.

The Ryukyu Kingdom or Ryukyu Okoku in Japanese was an independent kingdom which ruled most of the what are today known as the Okinawan islands. The kings of Ryukyu governed from the 15th to the 19th century.

Despite its small size, the kingdom played a central role in the maritime trade between medieval East and Southeast Asia.

In 1872, the Ryukyu kingdom, now a Japanese tributary, became a province of Japan. At the same time, independence was maintained on the surface for diplomatic reasons.

The Meiji government of Japan abolished the kingdom when the Ryukyu islands were incorporated as Okinawa on March 11, 1879. The last king of Ryukyu was forced to relocated to Tokyo as a vassal to the emperor.

These special Japan stamps were issued on December 20, 2002.

The Japanese stamp sheet to the left shows the following images:

  1. Stone lion of the royal mausoleum of the second Shou dynasty. Eighteen kings are entombed at the what is known as the Tamaudun mausoleum. Built in 1501, the tombs are guarded by shisa stone lions.
  2. Stone gate to the Sonohyan-utaki sanctuary, a sacred grove of trees and plants of the indiginous Ryukyuan religion. It is located on the grounds of Shuri castle in Naha and was built in 1519.
  3. Ruins of Nakijin-jo castle and Hikan cherry blossoms. The castle was the fortress of Hokuzan. It includes several sacred Utaki groves and is famous for the Hikan cherries.
  4. Stone gate of the ruins of Zakimi-jo castle. Built between 1416 and 1422, the castle oversaw the northern portion of the Okinawan mainland.
  5. Ruins of Katsuren-jo castle walls. Called the Ocean Gusuku, its golden age was in the mid 15th century under the powerful Aji lord of Katsuren.
  6. Ruins of Nakagusuku-jo castle's second citadel. Currently in ruins, the legendary Ryukyuan commander Gosamaru built the fortress in the 15th century.
  7. Kankaimon, the main gate of Shurijou castle. First built around 1477-1500, the gate was burned down during the Battle of Okinawa and restored in 1974. The gate was named to express welcome to Chinese envoys.
  8. The main hall of Shuri castle. Once the palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom, it was almost completely destroyed in 1945.
  9. Shikina-en, the royal garden. Located on a small hill to the south of Shuri castle in Naha. The gardens were laid out in 1799 to embellish one of the residences of the Sho family. They were used for reception purposes.
  10. Sefa-utaki sanctuary, a shinto shrine in Nanjo. Sefa utaki means purified place of Utaki. A sacred place. it comprises a number of caves and ledges facing the sea.

Price: US$ 21.00

Free worldwide shipping

Special Japan Stamps - World Heritage Series 2 Vol.9 Villages of Shirakawago and Gokayama

The next special Japan stamps sheet takes us to the historic villages of Shirakawago and Gokayama. The villages are on Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Located in the Shogawa river valley across the border of Gifu and Toyama Prefectures, they are among the most famous tourist sites in Japan.

The villages are known for their houses constructed in the architectural style known as gassho-zukuri. Gassho-zukuri means 'prayer hands construction,' a style characterized by a thatched and steeply slanting roof resembling two hands joined in prayer.

The Japanese stamps sheet to the left depicts the following images:

  1. Ogimachi in Shirakawago in fall. Ogimachi is the largest village and a heritage site since 1995. The village is home to several dozen farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old.
  2. Ogimachi in Shirakawago in fall
  3. Ogimachi in summer
  4. Myozenji temple at Ogimachi. This temple is unusual as it has a thatched roof rather than the typical tiled roof seen on most temples.
  5. Winter night in Ogimachi
  6. Gassho-zukuri houses in Ainokura in Taira-mura in early summer.
  7. Souenji temple in Ainokura in Taira-mura.
  8. Taira-mura Ainokura gassho-zukuri farmhouses in summer
  9. Kami-taira-mura Suganuma house in summer
  10. Kami-taira-mura Suganuma house in winter

These special Japan stamps were released on September 20, 2002.

Price: US$ 21.00

Free worldwide shipping

Special Japan Stamps - World Heritage Series 2 Vol.11 Hiroshima Atomic Dome and Peace Stamp Design Competition

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome, is the focus of the following commemorative Japanese stamp sheet.

Located in Hiroshima, the Atomic Bomb Dome is part of the Peace Memorial Park and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

The ruin serves as a memorial to the people who were killed in the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. Over 70,000 people were killed instantly, and another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries from the radiation.

Shown on this commemorative Japanese stamps sheet are:

  1. Atomic bomb dome, since 1996 UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  2. Hiroshima prefectural products exhibition hall in 1915-20. The building was completed in April 1915 and opened as the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition. On August 6, 1945, the atomic bomb detonated almost directly above the dome. The building's vertical column were able to resist the blast and parts of the concrete and outer walls remained intact.

The remaining stamps (from left to right):

  1. La Paix (Veret Le Marinier Jean-Paul)
  2. Taika (Joskaue Pakalkaite)
  3. Universal shrine of peace (Oriville M. Isaac)
  4. Heiwa-no negai (Sugita Keiji)
  5. Inochi Sansan (Nagaishi Natsuki)
  6. Niji-irono poppo (Oooka Makoto)
  7. Usa-chani (Kobayashi Shiho)

The background of the stamp sheet shows the Children's Peace Monument, dedicated to the children who died as a result of the bombing.

The statue is of a girl with outstretched arms with a folded paper crane rising above her. The design is based on the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who died from radiation. She believed that is she folded 1000 paper cranes she would be cured.

These commemorative Japanese stamps were issued on March 20, 2003.

Price: US$ 21.00

Free worldwide shipping

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