Gotoku-ji Cat TempleFree: All time

If you take the train a few minutes away from the busy Shinjuku, you’ll find yourself in the Setagawa suburb. When you’re there, you’ll probably end up roaming into Gotoku-ji Temple. Why? Because the Maneki-Nekos are beckoning you to visit. The Gotoku-ji Temple is the origin of these Beckoning Cats. Legend has it that in this temple lived a poor monk who adopted a white stray cat. One night during a mighty storm, a feudal lord and his entourage seeked refuge until a tree. The lord then saw a white cat in a distance, waving its paw, beckoning for him to approach. He did so and upon approaching the cat, he saw the temple behind. Just as he arrived, a lightning struck down the tree under which he had sought shelter before. The beckoning cat saved his life! Afterwards, the lord became the patron of the temple and ever since then, cats are considered the bringers of good fortune. As far asGotoku-ji’s claim as the origin of Maneki Neko, you probably have to visit Imado Jinja Shrine (which also claim as such, but with a whole different legend behind it) and decide for yourself.

Address: 2-24-7 Gotokuji, Setagaya, Tokyo Prefecture 154-0021
Direction: Train Odakyu Line to Gotokuji Station; Setagaya Line to Miyanozaka Station

Photo credit: Kanpai Japan