Gotoku-ji (Tokyo), Maneki-Neko cats statues

Gotoku-ji

The Maneki-Neko Temple in Tokyo

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Gotoku-ji is a Buddhist temple located in Setagaya ward, southwest of Tokyo. It shelters an altar dedicated to the Maneki-neko, displaying hundreds of the benevolent cat’s statues. The walk through the complex is quite charming, calm and relaxing.

Just a few minutes from Tokyo’s bustling districts such as Shinjuku or Shibuya, is Setagaya Ward. You'll dive into it to get to Gotoku-ji, a temple considered at the origin of the well-known Maneki-Neko: the cat 🐈 that welcomes visitors with its right paw up in the air.

There are several ways to go to Gotoku-ji, but you may consider taking the train 🚅 (at least to go there). After stopping at the eponymous station, walk a few minutes in the quiet and very pleasant Setagaya neighborhood. Along the way, some indices are scattered through drawings of cats everywhere in the streets.

Gotoku-ji grounds itself is quite large and consists of several buildings, including a main hall, a pagoda and the Ii clan cemetery. The neighborhood’s elderly people come to stroll, eat lunch or paint nature that everyone can contemplate. The surroundings of the temple and the compounds are naturally very quiet.

We had the opportunity to visit Gotokuji during the momiji 🍁 season and red maple trees are relatively numerous inside the temple area. There are also ginkgo biloba. In any case, the scenery is sublime in autumn.

However, for many visitors, the main interest of the temple is the impressive place of worship dedicated to the Maneki-Neko: the Shofuku-den pavilion, small in size but incredible by the number of statues it holds. It was renovated between mid-2020 and mid-2022, taking the opportunity of the stay-at-home measures during the Covid 🦠 times. There are countless cats of all sizes, forming a whole shrine which is likely to entertain many people. It's also possible to buy a Manekineko at the shop nearby (prices go up to ¥5,000/ ~US$38.54 for the larger ones!) and place it as an offering with the other cat statues.

Upon leaving Gotoku-ji, you can catch the tram nearby, a lesser used transportation for traveling in Tokyo, to continue your visits of the day.

⬇️ Further down this page, discover our visit guide in Gotoku-ji and around.
By Kanpai Updated on November 14, 2022 Gotoku-ji