This post is also available in: Chinese (Traditional)
A story about a lucky cat
The Gotokuji Temple is said to be one of the origin of Maneki Neko. Maneki Neko is a figure of a cat with a beckoning pow that is believed to bring in luck. In the Edo Period, when a feudal lord walked by the temple, the temple’s cat seemed to beckoning him. He decided to stop by at the temple and had some rest. Because of this unexpected visit, he could avoid hard thunderstorm which started during his stay there. Thanking to the cat, he made a lot of donation to the temple to rebuild its run-down facilities.
Reasons for cat offerings
Now, you can find lots of figurines of Maneki Neko covering the small corner of the ground. They are offered by people with gratitude, who made a wish here and fulfilled them. The temple sells cat figurines ranging from tiny ones to big ones. You can buy one as a souvenir. Or you may make a wish on an Ema, a wooden plaque to write your wish on. The ema sold here has an image of a lucky cat, of course. You might have recognized that the cats here don’t have coins. It is said that the cat will bring you luck, but it’s you who change the luck into fortune.
Cats are everywhere on the ground
You can even find cats’ sculptures on the upper parts of three-story pagoda, where the animal sculptures of the zodiac Chinese astrology are surrounding. Cat is not the part of the zodiac signs, though.
Cat is a god here!Takeshi KOUNO/Flickr
You can find a cat enshrined in the Shobyodo temple. The god, Shobyo Kannon, is a Maneki Neko.
How about a lucky charm for a souvenir?
How about a lucky charm with a beckoning cat for those who wish to bring a cute cat back home?
Relaxing time at the temple
The temple itself is a nice place for its lovely atmosphere. Its greenery ground is beautiful with cherry blossom in spring and with autumn foliage. To visit Gotokuji, there are two ways: Gotokuji Station on Odakyu Odawara line and Miyanosaka Station on Tokyu Setagaya (tram) line. The former is located in 15 minute-walk and not straight way. The latter has simpler access with only a few minute-walk up to the temple.
Address: 2-24-7, Gotokuji, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)