How to get pictorial postmarks in Japan (for travelers)

1. Pictorial Postmarks in Japan ( 風景印 : Fukei-in )
Hi, I'm Giraffe.
In this article, I'm going to explain "How to get pictorial postmarks in Japan" for travelers from overseas.
Perhaps you have seen a large and reddish postmark on a mail from Japan, like this.


Such a reddish pictorial postmark is called 風景印 (Fukei-in) in Japan.
In Japan, over 11100 post offices (45% of the whole) have its original pictorial postmark. It can be stamped on a mail which you are going to send instead of regular black postmark, and also on a card or notebook without sending (>=62 yen stamp must be put on it).

Each postmark indicates tourist attractions or local products near the post office with the date and post office name.
For example, Pictorial postmark of Hamamatsu (浜松) post office shows Eel(local products), Kite(local festival), Castle(tourist attraction), and Musical notes(lots of musical instrument manufacturers exist).


Pictorial postmark of Kyoto Uzumasa Sujaku (京都太秦朱雀) post office shows the famous temple "Koryuji" near the post office.


Pictorial postmark of Honjo Ichi (本所一) post office shows the Sumida River Fireworks Festival and Tokyo Sky Tree near the post office.


I've made a map of post offices that have a nice pictorial postmark and/or relatively easy to access. Please use it as reference : )
Pictorial Postmarks in Japan for Travelers

These pictorial postmarks can be stamped without sending a mail (>=62 yen stamp is required). So there are a lot of Japanese people that collecting these postmarks, and of course me too.
I often put a stamp on a small card and get a postmark like this.

(Toba post office / Toba City, Mie Pref.)


2. How to get a pictorial postmark at the post office
Now you are near the post office? It's nice. Please enter and go to the red counter (Most post offices have 3 kinds of counters. Blue for Insurance, Green for Savings, and Red for Mail).
Let's show the sign below at the red counter to ask whether they have a pictorial postmark or not.

風景印はありますか?(あれば)どんな絵柄ですか?
Is there a pictorial postmark in this post office? And what kind of picture is that?

If they have a pictorial postmark and you like it, let's try to get one.
If you don't have any stamps, buy a 62 yen stamp at the counter.
Please show the sign below.

62円切手をください。
I'd like to buy a 62 yen stamp.



^The left is the definitive 62 yen stamp for ordinary use and you can buy it at every post office. The right is another definitive stamp especially for a glad occasion (wedding, baby birth, celebration of longevity, etc.) and perhaps some post offices don't have this type (but most post offices have this, I think). You may choose whichever you like.
You can also buy commemorative stamps. But most commemorative stamps in Japan (self-adhesive type) are sold by a sheet (10 stamps), so you'll probably feel costly. Some "water-activated" commemorative stamps are sold individually, so you can choose and buy one from a sheet.
Most commemorative stamps are 62yen or 82yen type. 62yen is the domestic postage for postcard, and 82yen is for envelope.


Then, put the stamp on your card or notebook.
The diameter of a pictorial postmark is 36mm. Please make an empty space beside the stamp.


And please show the sign below.

風景印を記念押印してください。
Please put the pictorial postmark on this.


Then you can get the pictorial postmark without sending a mail. Isn't it nice?

(Rikubetsu post office / Rikubetsu Town, Hokkaido Pref.)

If you don't have any card or notebook, don't worry. You can also buy a simple postcard that postal fee is already printed (62 yen/sheet) like this.


If you want to get a postmark on this, please pay 62 yen and show the sign below at the counter.

通常はがき1枚に風景印を記念押印してください。
I'd like to buy a postcard. And please put the pictorial postmark on it.


Then you can get the pictorial postmark like this.

(Kamakura Hase post office / Kamakura City, Kanagawa Pref.)

Some post offices sell attractive limited postcards. It's also fun to buy it and get a postmark on it (you must stick >=62 yen stamp on it).


^These postcards are the limited items of Yokohama Chuo post office.
Here is the list of limited postcards.
POSTA COLLECT
WATASHI DAYORI


3. How to send a mail with a pictorial postmark
Pictorial postmark can be stamped on a mail from Japan to foreign countries.
In this case, a black English postmark must be stamped beside the pictorial postmark.

(Tokyo Chuo post office / Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)

But sadly, many postal staffs don't know this rule. They believe that it is impossible to send a mail with a pictorial postmark to overseas, so your request may be refused (sorry).
But if you want to try this, please show the sign below when you hand a mail to a postal staff at the counter. I wish you a good luck.

風景印で差し出してください。
I'd like to send this mail. Please cancel this by the pictorial postmark.


International Letter Writing Week's commemorative stamps are useful to send a postcard or a standard-size letter by airmail. They are published in October every year.

70yen => postcards (whole world)
90yen => letters (to Asia)
110yen => letters (to North and Central America, Europe, Australia, Middle East)
130yen => letters (to South America, Africa)

You can also use some definitive stamps. Here is the list of definitive stamps in Japan.
普通切手一覧 - 日本郵便
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