Imado Jinja ShrineFree: All time

Imado Jinja  is competing with Daijingu Shrine as the top love shrine in Tokyo. However, Imado Jinja has something else it’s popular for: as the origin of the “Maneki Neko” or the “Beckoning Lucky Cat”. The story goes that an old woman who lived in Imado (Asakusa) was forced to sell her cat due to extreme poverty. In her sadness, she dreamt of the cat telling her to make its image in clay. She did so and soon was able to sold the statue. The clay cats were so popular that she soon become prosperous from selling them. At Imado Jinja, you can find statues of two cats, male and female, joined together in their beckoning pose. The double-cat statues attract pilgrims from all over to come pray for love and relationships. Having your photos taken with the statues is considered lucky. Whatever your thing is, whether you’re seeking for love, or you’re a cat lover, it’s worth your while walking 15-minutes from the nearest subway station to Imado Jinja in the outskirt of Asakusa. As far as Imado Jinja’s claim as the origin of Maneki Neko, you probably have to visit Gotokuji Temple (which also claim as such, but with a whole different legend behind it) and decide for yourself.

Address: 1-5-22 Imado, Taito, Tokyo
Opening hours: Daily 9am – 5pm
Direction: Subway Ginza Line to Asakusa Station
Phone: +81 3-3872-2703

Photo credit: Shin Suzuki,