Rokugo Seal Museum

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Rokugo Seal Museum is dedicated to insho, the ink-stamp seals that remain a distinctive feature of business and official life in Japan. The museum was opened in 2007 by the local association of insho artisans, who proudly continue the time-honored skill of engraving seals by hand. Admission is free.

Seal usage stretches way back into Japanese history, with the earliest record dating to 57 CE. Rokugo’s own connection with the item began in the Bunkyu era (1861-1864), when locals began producing seals from the crystal being mined in the region, and Rokugo now manufactures about half of all the seals made in Japan.

The largest exhibit is too colossal to be housed inside the museum itself: outside the entrance you can see Japan’s biggest ink stamp. Its inscription, translating as “Immovable like the mountains,” appeared on the battle flags of local sixteenth-century warlord Takeda Shingen.

Inside, hundreds of exhibits dating back as far as the nineteenth century include engraving tools used by the predecessors of Rokugo’s present-day artisans. Alongside these are striking examples of the raw materials—including ivory as well as crystal—used to produce seal bodies, newspaper advertisements from the 1920s and ’30s, an easily understood visual explanation of how seals are made, and much more.

Head to the stairwell to view a huge image, created by countless ink stamp seals and featuring Mount Fuji, that in 2016 was certified by Guinness World Records as having the most individuals contribute to a stamp image.


Venue Address

409-3244 2160 Iwama, Ichikawamisato-cho, Nishiyatsushiro-gun

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