In Setagaya district of Tokyo lies a remarkable Gotokuji Temple, which is widely known as the Cat Temple of Tokyo. It’s attractive and strange at the same time as in this Buddhist temple you’ll get to see uncountable number idols of cats. Yes, you read that right. It is because the place is considered as the birthplace of the Maneki-Neko or beckoning cat, which is considered a good luck charm.
The legend related to temple
It is believed that all through the Edo period (the final era of the traditional Japanese government), there was a cat that helped Gotokuji Temple’s priest and his servants from a thunderstorm. The cat beckoned lord and his servants to security with a waving sign and that’s the reason you’ll see all cats’ figures have their one paw raised up. While it drizzled outside, the lord relished tea with the priest and later the lord gave rice and land as a gesture of thanks.
Today, people can witness several cat statues put on display nearby a statuette of the goddess of mercy, Kannon. The temple grounds are dotted with cat statues. Besides, there is numerous cat-related art on the streets around the temple. These cat figures are considered extremely lucky and are extensively famous for bringing good luck and prosperity.
How to reach?
Gotokuji Temple is in a quiet neighbourhood of Setagaya district. The temple can be reached without difficulty from central Tokyo. Once you arrive at Shinjuku station, then move towards the Odakyu line Hon-Atsugi direction that will take you directly to the Gotokuji station, which will take approximately 30 minutes. The temple of Gotokuji is less hardly a few minutes walk from the station. The temple remains open for travellers every day between 6 AM and 6 PM.