Gotokuji Temple is an Edo-period Buddhist temple that's referred to as the birthplace of the maneki neko. Located in Setagaya, Tokyo, Gotokuji temple is a popular spot for cat lovers due to the prevalence of the maneki neko figurines placed around the temple grounds. The maneki neko is a prominent Japanese figure that's often seen in shops, with its beckoning paw inviting in good fortune for the owner.
Maneki neko is believed to have originated from Gotokuji Temple itself. Back in the Edo Period, a feudal lord passed by the temple and bumped into a cat that beckoned to him to come in. Afterward, he realised that the cat had saved him from the coming thunderstorm, by letting him seek shelter at the temple. Grateful for the kind act by the cat, the lord decided to rebuild the temple into the Gotokuji it is today.
From then on, visitors to Gotokuji leave maneki neko figurines as an homage to its origin story and as a form of wishing for good fortune. Other than figurines, visitors to Gotokuji can take home unique maneki neko-themed souvenirs and good luck charms.
Three minute walk east of Miyanosaka Station (Tokyu-Setagaya Line), which is a 10-minute train ride (6 stops) from Sangenjaya Station.
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