When discovering Imado Jinja, most travelers will first remember Gotokuji. Indeed, this Buddhist temple, in Setagaya, totally dedicated to the famous Maneki Neko, shares with Asakusa’s Shinto shrine its display of cats.
However, Imado possesses its own small specificity as it celebrates love, which is why couples go there to favor a good marriage. Therefore, at the shrine, Izanagi and Izanami, two essential figures of Japanese mythology, are worshipped. Soji Okita, one of the most famous Shinsengumi members during the Edo period, also lived there until he died of tuberculosis.
Maneki Neko birthplace
Imado Jinja dates back to 1063 and seems to be the origin of Maneki Neko. In Asakusa district, the northern part of the touristic crossroad, it is not especially indicated, and its residential surroundings protect it from crowds of foreign tourists. However, some rickshaws tours from Sensoji include its discovery.
The inside of the shrine itself is not huge but hosts a lot of decorations of lucky cats, most of the time in pairs (they are called enmusubi), up to the back altar. In its center, a big display of ema reveals numerous wooden plaques full of wishes.
A few meters away, a kiosk acts as a small charming store where it is possible to purchase several kawaii souvenirs.
How to get to Imado Jinja
- from Asakusa station, about 15 minutes
- from Sumida park, about 5-10 minutes
By taxi -- Adress: 1-5-22 Imado, Taito, Tokyo
Location unreachable with the JR Pass
Get there with a rental car
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
Open from 9am to 5pm
How long / when to visit
Allow 15 to 20 minutes