2023 is the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac which forms the basis of numerous beliefs and practices throughout Asia, including Japan.

During the New Year's holiday in Japan, many people will be sending analog or digital New Year's cards with rabbit motifs.

More opportunities to see rabbits await those who will visit Buddhist temples or Shinto shrines to wish for a healthy and auspicious new year. To begin with, 絵馬 ema (votive picture tablets) featuring the animal, inscribed with new year wishes, will be displayed in the shrine or temple grounds.

However, there's another, more permanent way of enjoying cute rabbit-designed things, and that's getting a 御朱印 goshuin stamp. Not all temples or shrines go out of their way to make a special seal featuring the zodiac animal. However, when they do, it can result in an amazing memento of your experience.

Goshuin seals are stamped by shrine or temple clergy members as proof of visit and include the date of visit and the name of the temple or shrine.

In recent years, the hobby of goshuin collecting has become more popular, with both 御朱印帳 goshuinchō stamp books and stamps becoming more elaborate and decorative. Unique stamps and stamp books with beautiful designs and embroidery have appeared, often becoming a topic of conversation on social networking sites.

Adorable papercut rabbit goshuin stamps

Case in point: An exceptional goshuin stamp available at 福島八幡宮 Fukushima Hachimangū Shrine in 八女市 Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture, has been drawing quite a lot of attention after their official Twitter account posted images of it recently.

Take a look at these adorable rabbit-themed stamps!

Beautifully designed with delicate patterns of nandina and chrysanthemum, this is 切り絵御朱印 福卯 (kirie goshuin fuku-usagi | lit. "papercut art goshuin stamp: good fortune rabbit"), a truly exceptional and eye-catching goshuin made in collaboration with 松原真紀 Maki Matsubara, a local papercut artist from Yame City.

Although typical goshuin are stamped into a goshuinchō book, either available at the shrine or temple or purchased separately, sometimes they come on their own paper as a unique item, which is the case here.

These A5-sized (5.8" x 8.3") stamps are available in black and peach, and are available until January 31st, 2023.

They're also available for purchase online for those who can't visit Fukushima Hachimangu Shrine in person, with free shipping to Japanese addresses*.

Due to their sudden popularity, they have been overwhelmed with orders, so delays can be expected. Any orders made now will be delivered after January 2023.

A giant rabbit stamp will be available in January!

From January 1st, 2023, an A3-sized (11.7" x 16.5") version, called 特大切り絵御朱印 福卯GOLD (tokudai kirie goshuin fuku-usagi GOLD | lit. "oversized papercut art goshuin stamp: good fortune rabbit GOLD") will also be available!

It comes in an auspicious gold color and has the word 飛躍 hiyaku, which means both literally to "leap" (like a rabbit) but also figuratively "to make great strides," printed on it in beautiful calligraphy.

Because it's so large, it can't be pasted into a stamp book, but it would look gorgeous displayed in a frame at home or at work.

This one will also be available until January 31st, 2023.

You can see the difference in this photo tweeted by the shrine showing two of their shrine maidens holding up the standard and oversized versions:

These amazing rabbit-themed stamps have captured the hearts of many people online, eliciting comments such as:

  • "I want one because it's my zodiac sign!"
  • "It's so cute, I have to have it!"
  • "I want one for my home and give one to one of my superiors at work!"
  • "I was attracted to it because I have a rabbit."

They're only available while supplies last, so you'd better act fast if you want one!

* Online sales are only available to Japanese addresses, so you'll need to use a forwarding service such as Buyee or (appropriately enough) White Rabbit Express to have them delivered outside of Japan.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.