For this week, we will take everyone to visit an unseen spot in a bustling city of Tokyo which surely makes all visitors to feel as they are in a different world with a uniqueness of "Japan" to see here and that place is a temple named "Gotokuji" or temple of lucky cats
Lucky cat is widely considered as a Japanese charm which can bring good luck and prosperity to owners of those cats. The lucky cats now are sold everywhere in Japan and even abroad including oriental gift shops in Europe and USA!
Firstly, let's grab some history of this temple before we go together!
There was a local tales said that Gotokuji used to be an ordinary temple in Edo (former name of Tokyo) but one day when a daimyo (warlord) from Hikone (Shiga Prefecture at present) came to Edo for Shogun's service and he passed by this temple, suddenly he met a cat in front of temple's gate and the cat persuaded him to get inside the temple which he followed. A moment later, a storm came and rages the area but the daimyo did not get any harm. As the daimyo was grateful for the cat whom invited him in, when he got back to his province and collected money then he donated all the money he got to temple and renovated it to be prosperous eversince.
How to get there: It is not so difficult to reach this temple but for first time visitor, it might requires some effort :
1. Starts at Shinjuku train station, look for a sign Odakyu train
2. Approach the ticket booth or buy from staff (ticket for Gotokuji Station)
3. Takes an Odakyu train, Odawara Line, to Gotokuji Station
4. Once you leave the gate of ticketing system, you will see a lucky cat statue turn right and walk about 80 meters then you will see another platform which is a tram station named Yamashita Station. Wait for the tram here.
5. Ride a tram and leave at Miyanosaka Station (only one stop from Yamashita) and walk another 300 meters and you will see the front gate of the temple eventually.
Once we passed through the front door, on the left hand side you will see a wooden pagoda and a belfry on your right while in front of you will be a prayer hall. After paying a respect to Buddha images, walk a little deeper and you will face another prayer hall where many lucky cats are placed inside.
Just a few inches next to this second prayer hall, you will encounter a lot of lucky cats in various sizes placed on a floor and even around the prayer's hall wall with almost countless of them ranging from a tiny one as equal as your small finger to very large one!!! Let's have a look at our pictures :)
Next to these lucky cats, there is a Japanese graveyard that visitors can walk inside with stone Buddha statues called Jizo at some section while the wooden pagoda is not opened to the public but we still can see a glimpse of "cat" around the decoration of this pagoda.
After enjoying with these countless cats, some of visitors might think this is it and leave the temple but we have to say that "there's more to see" because there is another area to explore in this lovely temple which is the main hall where visitors can come and pray for Buddha images located inside with a serene atmosphere. While another highlight is a shop run by temple staff who welcomes any visitors even though you are a foreigner. Inside the shop, you can buy various items related to lucky cats or any charm that, some believed it can, increase your good fortune and get prosperity. The prices for these items are also reasonable and also worth to buy as a souvenir or increase "Feng Shui" at your places.
To sum up, this temple is a great place to visit if you want to stay off the beaten track while still need to stay around a big city. Coming to this temple normally takes about 2-3 hours in total (including travel time) so it is very suitable for anyone who needs to see something that is traditional while staying away from a concrete forest!
If you read this blog and feels you want to visit here but still not sure about transportation, language barrier between you and local people or need some professional service rather than visiting by yourself then we would like to introduce a private tour to Tokyo
for you. The company has a high reputation for more than 12 years in Japan's tourism industry and will strife to provide the most comfortable journey and memorable experience for every clients!
Original sources : temple's brochure and the rest of pictures were taken from our blogger, Otaru Taichou.