Goshuincho making experience at Nishikawa Paper Industry


Dear Reader,

A couple of weeks ago, we visited Nishikawa Paper Industry and interviewed Saori Nishikawa, its Representative Director. We were introduced to the captivating world of Japanese paper and the multitude of ways it can be used to create unique paper products. To make the visit even more memorable, it was concluded with customising of our own goshuincho stamp books.

In Japan, the goshuincho serves as a faithful companion during visits to temples and shrines. Traditionally, these books are bound in elegant fabric or paper covers, with pages designed to receive calligraphy and vibrant vermilion seals affixed by a monk or shrine attendant. These seals usually contain the name of the temple or shrine, the date of the visit, and sometimes additional blessings or prayers.

Before starting to assemble your goshuincho, you’ll get a demonstration of preparation of its pages by one of the company’s artisans. If you were wondering how the famous Japanese accordion-style books are made, this will be your chance to observe and ask questions. The insides of your goshuincho will be already prepared for you (otherwise, it would take way too much time to properly glue the pages yourself).

The experience itself begins with selecting two sheets of quality paper for the book’s front and back covers, and they may be of the same or different design. Then, you’ll prepare the covers by glueing them to the sheets of cardboard and placing a sheet of foam paper inside that will give your goshuincho the characteristic soft feel. Attach the covers to the inside pages and voila, your stamp book is ready. Your instructor will guide you through all the steps of the process and will help you if needed.

By the way, the reverence for goshuincho extends beyond religious boundaries. While deeply rooted in tradition, these books have found resonance with contemporary travellers seeking authentic connections and meaningful experiences. Even if you’re not a stamp collector, you can use the book for any other purpose (as your private diary or photo album, for note taking or doodles).

If you wish to visit the studio and learn more about Kyoto paper craft techniques, book your experience here: NISHIKAWA PAPER INDUSTRY

Words & images by Anastasiya Bulkavets (