Do you like Lucky Cats? If yes, we recommend you visit ‘Gotokuji Temple’ in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. You can’t help being surprised by the corner of the temple where countless Lucky cats are displayed.
Why are there so many cats are there?
They are said to bring good fortune. Many people buy them to wish for the well-being of their family or business success. They bring their Lucky Cat to the temple when the wish comes true. This is why the temple has so many Lucky cats. This Gotokuji temple has various sizes of Lucky cats from a couple of cm up to 30cm.
The folk history of the lucky cat
When Naotaka Ii, the 2nd lord of Omi province (Now Shiga prefecture) visited Koutokuan, a small temple, after falcon hunting in Edo (now a suburb of Tokyo), a cat beckoned him into the temple. Then the weather suddenly changed to a thunderstorm. While he was sheltering from the rain and talking to a temple priest, he and the priest became friends.
Later, Kotokuan received a donation from Naotaka which became his family’s temple after it was rebuilt. It was renamed Gotokuji temple after Naotaka’s buddhist name.
Eventually ‘Maneki-neko Hall’ (Lucky Cat Hall) was built in the temple and worship of the lucky or beckoning, cat as a symbol of good luck led to the prosperity of the temple.
This Folk history of Gotokuji temple is one of the origin stories of the lucky cat.
Three-Story Pagoda, 22.5m in height was built in May 2006. The Japanese zodiac sculptures and lucky cats are situated in various places around the structure.
The Main Gate was originally built in 1884 (Meiji 17). It was rebuilt in early Showa period after the Great Kanto Earthquake and now welcomes visitors to the Temple.
Other buildings of Gotokuji temple
- Gotokuji temple
- 2-24-7, Gotokuji, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 150-0021
10 mins walk from Gotokuji station on the Odakyu Line 5 mins walk from Miyanosaka station on the Tokyu Setagaya Line
- Opening Hours
- 6am to 18pm
Reception 9am to 4:30pm