Side Trips


Calling all cat lovers to Gotokuji!


Gotokuji is said to be the birthplace of the Japanese maneki-neko (beckoning cat). The temple is filled with these adorable figurines and a giant maneki-neko even greets people as they come out of the ticket gate. The business district in town is also filled with the cats, placed to invite passers-by into their stores. The air here is filled with an atmosphere of times gone by. Take a stroll through town with the cats and find some great local products and fun places to visit!

Getting to Gotokuji

Recommended tourist attractions


According to a legend, the auspicious temple Gotokuji is where the custom of the maneki-neko (beckoning cat) got started. In the seventeenth century, Ii Naotaka, the second lord of the Hikone Domain, was passing by the gate to the temple grounds when a pet cat waved at him to come closer. No sooner had he come to the gate then the skies broke out in thunder and lightning, and the lord was saved from the torrential rain by the overhang of the gate. The beckoning cat has since become a symbol of good fortune and a way to draw people into stores. And Gotokuji, with its beckoning cats, has become a well-known place to visit.

Setagaya Hachiman-gu shrine

Every year, a sumo tournament is held here. It is traditionally said that the wrestling bouts determine whether the next year would bring a bountiful harvest or famine.

Gotokuji Shopping District

To this day, the maneki-neko (beckoning cat) is the symbol of this town. You will find them around the station, decorating storefronts and even street signs. And they make you feel welcome, true to their beckoning nature. The area has become so well known that people from abroad also often visit.