As an auspicious ornament that brings luck charm and business prosperity, a “Maneki-Neko” (lucky cat) that has been popular with Japanese people since long ago. The popularity from foreigners is also increasing as the appearance of cats bringing luck with one hand raised is unique and lovable.
It is said that the birthplace of such “Maneki-Neko” is the Gotoku Temple in Setagaya, Tokyo. The scenery where 1,000 or more of Maneki-Neko is lined up is a surprising sight. It is Gotoku Temple of such kind that you can feel that you got benefits just by visiting.
A summer day in the Edo period. Naotaka Ii of the Hikone lord who went out to hawk hunting passed the front of the Gotoku Temple, and he seems to have been beckoning the cat. When he stopped in thinking as a mysterious thing, he said that he avoided the heavy thunderstorm of sudden arrival. From such a historical episode, the cat that beckons at Gotoku Temple is a symbol of good fortune.
Gotoku Temple is a temple of Soto sect, and its founding dates back to the Muromachi Period. Maneki-Neko is the highlight of this place. The Shofuku-den Hall in the precincts is a masterpiece with numerous large and small numbers of Maneki-Neko dedicated.
The Maneki-Neko of Gotoku Temple raise their right hand, but they do not have “koban” (former Japanese oval gold coin). It might be saying, “I will bring good luck, but the result depends on yourself.”
In addition to such Shofuku-den Hall, there are plenty of places to see such as the triple tower where it is also fun to look for cat statues, the Ii family grave site which is a national historic site, the Buddha statue erected in the early period of the Edo period.
Try relaxingly in the summer when Maneki-Neko was born.
A lot of Maneki-Neko filled Gotoku-ji Temple. The origin of Maneki-Neko (the beckoning cat) has various opinions, but it will be this “Gotoku-ji” to be the most famous in that.
Hikonyan was modelled after the Maneki-Neko here at Gotoku Temple. Gotokuji in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo is the temple which is famous as a family temple of the Iis, including Hikone feudal lord, Naosuke Ii. Its foundation is known as the history and a venerable temple built for the age of Warring states period in 1480.
The white cat called “Tama” of the Gotokuji temple surprisingly beckoned Ii Naotaka, who was the second charges feudal lord of the Oomi Hikone feudal clan, when he passed in front of Gotokuji temple on the way home of the falconry in the early Edo period. When he drink tea with the chief priest in Gotokuji temple who felt interesting having been invited to “Tama”, the weather worsened suddenly, and became a furious thunderstorm.
Ii Naotaka was pleased and said “I did not get wet thanks to a cat, this is a sign of good luck”, and then Gotokuji temple became the Bodaiji (the family temple) of the Hikone Ii family from that time. It is said that after “Tama” died, the chief priest makes a grave, and “the beckoning cat” have been made in Gotokuji temple.
The grave of Naosuke Ii who is famous for the Mass Execution of Ansei is built in the precincts. The beckoning cat formed a line in a row. There seem to be manners and customs to come to return a beckoning cat if a wish comes true. It is said that there is benefit more when you return this shrine after your wish comes true. There seems to be really benefit to this beckoning cat this number in a half year.
|Adresse:||Gotokuji 2-24-7 Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 154-0021 Japan|
|Access:||Odakyu Odawara-sen Line “Gotokuji-eki Station” (8 minutes walk)|