Asia,  Destinations,  Japan

How to find eki stamps in Japan

Looking for a free and fun thing to collect while traveling in Japan? Try starting an eki stamp collection!

Eki stamps (translated to “station stamps”) are (free!) rubber stamps used as a kind of tourist souvenir around Japan. Originally, they were only found at train stations (hence “station stamp”) but now you can get them nearly everywhere. Finding and collecting eki stamps is one of my favorite things to do in Japan, and I encourage everyone to get some for their own collection.

That said, finding eki stamps (and the like) can be a little difficult if you don’t speak or read Japanese. Here’s how to find eki stamp locations across Japan.

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Typical eki stamp locations

Here’s where I’ve gotten souvenir stamps before while on my travels:

  • Train stations, plus special tourist trains have their own stamps on board
  • Subway stations (not all)
  • Metro rail stations
  • Bus stations, plus highway rest stops when on intercity bus trips
  • Museums, castles, and most tourist places like towers
  • Stationery stores
  • Parks and historical sites

If it’s a place that tourists typically visit, especially domestic tourists, there’s a good chance there’s a stamp somewhere.

NOTE: You might have to ask someone for the stamp, as they don’t always have them sitting out. Train stations are about 50/50 for me on that front. The nice thing about having to ask for the stamp is that usually they’ll have a ton of different ones, even sometimes a retired image!

Be sure to also check windows at different train lines WITHIN the same station. For instance, stations with JR local trains and Shinkansen trains will have stamps for each!

Some stations also have special anniversary stamps! In 2023, the Tokyo JR lines had special stamps for their 150th anniversary, for instance.

Also keep an eye out for special “stamp rally” events, where a special stamp (usually hosted by a 3rd party) is available for a limited time. These are usually special characters like Hello Kitty, Pokemon, popular anime characters or city mascots. Cute!

How to ask staff for an eki stamp

Don’t speak any Japanese? No problem! I’ve gotten by just with these two phrases:

Eki stampu ari-mas-ka? which means “Is there a station stamp?”

Eki stampu doko-des-ka? which means “Where is the station stamp?”

Or most often I just hold up my notebook and say “eku stampu?” in a hopeful tone of voice.

Specific eki stamp locations

There’s no comprehensive English-language list of all souvenir stamps and their locations, really, BUT Japanese collectors have done a great job compiling info online. Here’s the best resources I’ve found so far:

Tokyo Train Station Eki Stamp Locations

This is to help out those who are looking for stamps in Tokyo’s HUGE train stations– I once wandered through Shinjuku station for an hour trying to find the eki stamp, so I know the pain. Normally, in the huge stations the stamps are either IN or NEAR the ticketing office, or AT or NEAR the Info/Help desk.

JR Harajuku eki stamp

Outside the Omotesando Street exit ticket gate.

JR Shibuya eki stamp

Inside the West Exit ticketing office on the first floor. There’s should be two stamps available, the regular JR one and a special station mascot stamp.

JR Shinjuku eki stamp

Outside the east exit ticket gate, inside the ticketing office.

JR Tokyo Station eki stamp

Outside Marunouchi south exit ticket gate.

JR Ueno eki stamp

Outside the Iriya street ticket gate. There’s two stamps available, a regular JR line one and a special station mascot stamp.

Where to buy an eki stamp notebook

There are official eki stamp notebooks you can buy if you want an extra souvenir! Kinokuniya, a BIG Japanese bookstore, should have them in the travel section. They should cost about ¥825 or about $5.60 USD and there’s a few different covers depending on what kind of stamps you’re collecting.

Otherwise, a Moleskine notebook or a Travelers Notebook from Midori would work well, too. I use a plain Moleskine notebook for my stamps and then write journal entries on the same page– makes for a fun travel journal!

Traveling around Japan this year? You might also be interested in these posts:

Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal.

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