A Must-See for Cat Lovers! Gotokuji Temple in Setagaya, a temple full of Lucky Cats

Let me introduce you to Goutokuji Temple in Setagaya, Tokyo, where numerous lucky cats warmly welcome visitors. While there are temples across Japan known for their lucky cats, it’s quite rare to find a temple where you can see so many lucky cats.



Gotokuji is a temple located in Gotokuji 2-chome, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. According to one theory, it is the birthplace of Maneki Neko (lucky cats).

Gotokuji is a 10-minute walk from Gotokuji Station on the Odakyu Line and a 5-minute walk from Miyanosaka Station on the Tokyu Setagaya Line. Gotokuji Station is about 15 minutes from Shinjuku Station.


The origin of Maneki Neko is based on a legend that in the Edo period(1603-1868), a military commander named Naotaka Ii (1590-1659) was invited into Gotokuji Temple by a cat, after which a thunderstorm broke out, and he was able to take shelter from the rain.

Afterwards, at Gotokuji Temple, a hall called “Shofukuden” was built to enshrine a cat that brings good fortune, known as the “Maneki Neko“. Many visitors come to Shofukuden, praying for household safety, prosperity in business, and good fortune and blessings.

Cats, Cats, Cats!!!

These Maneki Neko are all dedicated by visitors to the temple. It is believed that Maneki Neko have the power to make wishes come true, and it is also believed that dedicating them to Gotokuji Temple after the wish has been granted will bring even more good luck. This is why so many Maneki Neko are gathered here at Gotokuji Temple.


Three-story pagoda with climbing cats

The pagoda is decorated with several cats as well as the twelve Chinese zodiac signs.

Maneki Neko without Koban(a Japanese Gold Coin)

Do you know that Maneki Neko can fulfill different wishes based on the raised paw?

Maneki Neko with its right paw raised is believed to attract wealth, while one with its left paw raised is said to invite people. Goutokuji Temple’s Maneki Neko, with its right paw raised, is thus believed to grant wishes related to money and business prosperity.

Furthermore, unlike the common Maneki Neko that typically holds a large koban (a Japanese gold coin), Maneki Neko at Gotokuji Temple does not hold a koban, but rather raises its right paw.
While Maneki Neko invites people, bringing about ‘connections’ or ‘destined relationships,’ it does not directly bestow fortune itself.
It is up to the person to make the most of the important “connections” with others.
Gotokuji Temple’s Maneki Neko is believed if one is grateful for the blessing, it will naturally come to him or her, this is why they do not hold the koban and raise only their right paw.

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