This time we’ll be introducing a uniquely Japanese experience seeped in culture and tradition: handmade signature stamp experience.
In Kamakura you can find a small shop called ‘Kamakura Hanko’ where you can create your own original design and calligraphic styled signature stamp.
Handmade Signature Stamp making experience & stroll through Kamakura
This time Maya from the UK participated in the handmade signature stamp experience where she was able to learn about Japanese culture through the profound world of signature stamps at a shop which lies just a short 3 min walk from Kamakura station.
A large array of signature stamps and cases inside the shop
Inside the shop you’ll be greeted by a large array of signature stamps and cases. It’s unusual to see so many styles and rare stamps that it’s worth a visit just to see for yourself.
Join in a lecture entitled ‘What is a Signature Stamp?’.
First, you can join in a lecture entitled ‘What is a Signature Stamp?’. Unlike foreign countries where people generally sign their names for everything in Japan there is a unique culture of using a signature stamp for important deals and transactions. The signature stamp needs to be registered before it can be used. Take a little look at the history of signature stamps which is deeply rooted in Japanese culture.
Choose the type of characters
Once you’ve learned briefly about the history of Japan’s signature stamps it’s time to move on to designing your own. First you’ll need to choose the type of characters, calligraphic style, and layout. You can choose from kanji (Chinese characters), hiragana, katakana, and the alphabet. There are a variety of different calligraphic styles to choose from as well. Next it’s on to the layout. You can choose either a vertical or horizontal design to suit your personal style. Enjoy arranging the design to match your preferences and create something truly original.
Drawing out the design
Now that you’ve decided on your style and layout a skilled craftsman will draw out your design professionally. Your very own signature stamp is getting closer and closer to the final process.
Choosing the materials
Now then, let’s take a look at the materials and colours available for signature stamps. Every colour holds a special meaning but feel free to choose your favourite colour or anything that catches your eye!
After learning a bit about signature stamps and choosing your design it’s time to pass things over to a skilled craftsman who will carve your stamp for you following your selection of material, calligraphic style, and design.
Selecting your case
Inside the shop is a wide arrangement of cases in various colours and designs. You can choose any case you like or find one that matches your stamp.
In Japan it’s common to create a new signature stamp to use for a special occasion such as when you first start working or when you get married. Once you’ve decided on your purpose let the craftsmen know so they can create your stamp with your special purpose in mind.
The final product!
Once the craftsman has carved your signature stamp it’s complete and ready for you to take home and use. You can register your own stamp at your local city hall or government office so you can use it for official documents.
Next it’s off to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
It was a beautiful sunny day and fortunately there were few visitors so glimpses of the shrine could be seen from far away. The view from the main hall presented picturesque scenery. After offering prayers at the main hall people can purchase a special shrine stamp. Having just learned about styles of characters during the signature stamp experience it’s easy to appreciate the shrine’s stamp to a fuller extent.
Head over to Komachi Street for lunch and a bit of souvenir shopping!
After that it was time to head over to Komachi Street for lunch and a bit of souvenir shopping! It was a brilliant day filled with Japanese culture making a personal signature stamp and strolling through Kamakura!
Click here for more details about the signature stamp shop ‘Kamakura Hanko’.