Make your own Japanese seal (印鑑) in 5 min.

Your signature does not work in Japan????

When you need to move to Japan, there are couple things you need to fulfil to settle such as a bank account, a drivers licence, a contracts for a school or work, and etc…
You are required to complete bunch of official documents and sign on them so many time.

However, for official documents, your signature is no longer acceptable here in Japan.
You are required to have your own seal stamp called Inkan/Hanko(印鑑/判子).

what is Inkan/Hanko?
Hanko/Inkan was brought from China in 4th century. After the introduction of seal, Japanese seal culture has began until today. One of the famous Inkan is “King of Na gold seal”.
I am not going through details of Inkan/Hanko here, but this page explains Inkan/Hanko very well.

Where to get Inkan/Hanko? 
You may see signs says “印鑑/判子” in the cities and if you search on google, many sites come up.
However, there are varieties of seal materials (an elephant tusk is the most popular), Kanji fonts, stroke styles of Kanji, price ranges, and types of seal (such for bank account, company, your identification, etc…).
For Mitomein(the casual acceptance), you can get it at these stamp shop or online( for few bucks, but these can not be used for formal documents to prevent the copy.

What’s the easiest way to make your own Japanese seal in Japan?

The answer is in Don Quijote One of the largest retail discount store in Japan. (and Hawaii).

The world’s first vending machine for Inkan/Hank, called “SELF-HANKO BOX” is located at some Don Quijote stores.


I will go through the usage of the vending machine. It is quite easy. You can make your own Japanese seal in 5 min.

1. Tap the “start button on the screen”

It says, choose a font or stroke style. There are 3 types of fonts.

  1. Tensho style (篆書体)
  2. Kisso style(吉相体)
  3. Koin style (古印体)

I recommend to use Kisso style which is very common for seals.


2. type in the character in Kanji, Kana, Roman alphabet.

choose the which Japanese character you want to use. Kana (カナ)、Kanji (漢字), Hiragana (ひらがな) or Roman alphabet.

I chose roman alphabet for example.

you can change the font style after this procedure.

3. adjust the size and margins.

This part is important!!!

This process prevent to get copied.

hanko_character_type   hanko_adjust2 hanko_adjyst

4. choose the materials.

After completing the fonts and characters, you need to choose which material you want to use for your own Japanese seal. There are varieties of materials available and it is different in stores.


Main materials are

  • plastic
  • Akane (a type of wood)
  • bullhorn

Of course, plastic ones are cheapest, and Akane, bullhorn, respectively. The price range is ¥1000 ~ 8000.

5. Insert the plane seal into the box on right.



6. place the seal in and lock the seal.


7. wait for few min.


8. Done!!! You got your own Japanese seal and ready to start new life in Japan!!

hanko_done hanko_finish

Trivia: Females tend to use their first name instead of family name. This is because females in Japan tend to change their family name when get married.

I believe that this is not only the seal for you, but also it would be a great souvenir for Japan trip.

If you want to convert your name into Kanji, feel free to ask me.


  1. Holy cow, I’m in the middle of Onojo city in Fukuoka, and the only places that can do this are like 1 hour away, just got here to go to school. The Don Kihote store closest to me is again… an hour away. Is there an actual way to make my own or does it need to be ‘approved’ material. >_< my school kind of left this to me and they're not much help!

  2. I need to make hanko or inkan for apartment contract. But i don’t know my name in kanji. Should i use my katakana name or my name into kanji?

    My name is : karina

    Thank you so much.

  3. Hi Randy,
    here is the list of Self-hanko machines at Donki.
    八王子駅前ドン・キホーテ (hachioji, Tokyo)
    ドン・キホーテ梅田店 (Umeda, Osaka)
    ドン・キホーテ銀座本館(Ginza, Tokyo)
    ドンキホーテ 高田馬場駅前店 (Takadanobaba, Tokyo)
    ドン・ キホーテ 中目黒本店 (Nakameguro, Tokyo)

    Unfortunately, there is no stores in Kyoto. One in Ginza would be easy to access.

    Have a safe trip and enjoy Japan!!

  4. Hello. I will be visiting Tokyo and Kyoto. Do you know which stores have the Self-Hanko Machines available?

  5. Hi Norma,
    here is the list of Self-hanko machines at Donki.
    道頓堀 ドンキホーテ
    仙台国分町 ドンキホーテ
    中洲 ドン・キホーテ
    ドンキホーテ 宇品店
    ドンキホーテ 高田馬場駅前店
    ドン・ キホーテ 中目黒本店

  6. Do you know which Don Quijote has those hanko machines? I went to the one in Shibuya but they didn’t have it

  7. Hi! I really enjoy your articles. Japan seems like an amazing place! It would be wonderful to take a long visit to Japan to really learn and live the true experience in person. Reading your articles has really been informative and helpful. I just want to keep reading more and more! Even the smallest things are huge for me!
    I almost forgot the main reason for writing…I am wondering if you can convert my name for me as well as my daughter’s name? My daughter’s name is Katelyn. We call her Katie. My name is Lori.
    Thank you very much!
    Lori Anderson

  8. Hi Elle, a Kana stamp is usually used, but Kanji also works. It is like your signature.
    I can convert your first name into Kanji; however there are lots of Kanji represents the sound of your name and meanings.
    for example, the sound /eli/ can be ‘襟’ means collar and Rose can be just translated to ‘薔薇’ (rose). Collar is not sounds very nice I guess.

  9. Thank-you for the informative article. Would it be possible for you to convert my first name into kanji please? Or would you advise using aKana stamp?
    Thanks in advance!

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