I would like you Foreign tourists to visit temples and shrines if you come to Japan because it would be easy to understand Japanese old traditional things. There are famous places in Tokyo such as Meiji Shrine and Asakusa Temple. They are of course a nice place, but what I introduce today is a little bit unique and interesting temple.
The name of this temple is Gotokuji. It is 15 minutes by train from Shinjuku. Compared with Asakusadera, the scale is smaller but there are not too many tourists, it is not so crowded.
You take the local train bound for Odawara or Fujisawa from Shinjuku on Odakyu Line. Please keep in mind that express and rapid trains will not stop at Gotokiji station. It is about 15 minutes to Gotokiji station. Gotokiji is a small station. The name of the station and area surrounding the temple are named Gotokuji after the temple. After leaving the ticket gate at that station, proceed to the left side and walk along the Setagaya line. Crossing the road and there is a temple on your left. It is about 10 minutes on foot from Gotokuji station.
This temple was established in 1480. It is said that Ii Naotaka who was Hikone lord built and maintained a cathedral as a family temple of the Ii family in 1633. There are also graves of the Ii family including Ii Naosuke. There are also traditional buildings like a three stories pagoda and the mountain gate. I think plums and cherry blossoms, autumn leaves are also beautiful in the temple which is a healing place.
The most characteristic of this temple is that many ornamental beckoning cats are dedicated. Next to the hall there are thousands of ornamental beckoning cats that were paid as thanks for fulfillment of prayer. This is amazing.
The origin of the lucky cat comes from that when Ii Nakaoka passed in front of Gotokuji, a cat living in the temple invited Naotaka into that temple. Soon after that, there was a thunderstorm. But Naoka was able to escape the disaster thanks to that cat. Naotaka appreciated about that and he made a big donation to the temple. And then the temple developed. The priest worshiped the cat as the cat beckons happiness to a temple. Later, Gotokuji turned into Ii family’s temple.
You can buy several sizes of ornamental beckoning cats at this temple. It costs 300 yen to 5000 yen. it is said that further lucky things will happen if you return buck and dedicate the ornamental beckoning cat at the temple.
Common ornamental beckoning cats in Japan include cats with right paw raised, cats with left paw raised, and cats with oval (old money coins). It is said that a cat with right paw raised is a good luck charm for money. A cat with left paw raised is for business success.
Location: Gotokuji station, Setagaya District, Tokyo
Access: 10 minutes on foot from Gotokuji Station on Odakyu line, 15 minutes by local train from Shinjuku.
Opening hours: 8:30-18:00
Admission fee: Free