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Gotoku-ji temple, the original birthplace of Lucky cat!

by Eva 2563

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How about to visit Gotoku-ji temple, a place of Manekineko origin,
to ask for some good fortune to come
(Manekineko means Lucky cat
which is a figure of cat with one paw raised).

During today`s walk, one of the place we are going to visit is
Gotoku temple, which is said to be a birthplace of Manekineko.
Inside the precincts of the temple, numerous donated Lucky cats are
very popular among foreign tourists!
After the visit of temple, the walk will continue to Gotokuji station
which is located between Gotoku shopping street and
Yamashita shopping street.
You can relax for a while in a Japanese style confectionary shop
with a great view on shopping street line, enjoy view on people
doing shopping while you are chatting in a confectionary shop.
Let´s depart for our walk.

This time route:
Miyanosaka Entrance 2
1. Enoshima Electric Railway 601
2. Gotoku-ji Temple
3. Mahorodou Sougetsu
4. Hamaguchi Suisan Gotoku-ji Store
Gotoku-ji station

Distance: 1,8 km
Steps: approximately 3,270
Time: estimated 23 minutes of walk + tea time and shopping time
Budget: 2,500 yen

1. At the beginning of the walk, let`s greet popular
Enoshima Electric Railway 601

Tokyu Setagaya Line is one of only two trams in Tokyo.
From Sangenjaya train is going slowly and it is shaking from
one side to another until it reaches Miyanosaka station.
Today`s walk will start from here!

”Shining green tram! What a preeminent feeling"!

When getting out off the platform, you will discover a tram
stopping outside of the station! This Electric Railway
which has written 601 at the front, was running at the track
between Shibuya and Futakotamagawa and Shimatakaido
and between Fujisawa and Kamakura, for 65 years.
Even after its retirement in 1990, here in front of Miyanosaka station,
it is guarding those people who are using Tókyú Setagaya line.

If you are going to be careful and do not make it inside dirty,
you can eat and drink in the wagoon. This electric railway is also
very popular playground by local children.

”Upper Left/The looks is left the same as it used to be at those times.

 Upper Right/This is a driver´s seat. What kind of landscape could be seen at those times?

 Lower Left/Leather straps also remain as they used to be.
At the other side of the window is Setagaya station´s platform .

 Lower Right/When you walk on the wooden floor, it feels a bit creaky which is quite


When you enter, you can slightly smell tree. Why you do not sit down
on the seat inside comfortably and try to imagine how did the landscape
around look back at those time.

Enoshima Electric Railway
Setagaya Miyanosaka 1-24, Tokyo
Contact: 03-5413-0578
Business Hours: 24 hours a day
Regular Closing Day: None

2. Let´s get some good fortune at Manekineko´s original birthplace!

When you cross the railway crossing, walk approximately five minutes.
Turn to the left on the third street and it this route will take you to
Gotoku-ji temple. Keep walking until you will reach main temple gate.
Please enter from here.

 ”The nearest station to Gotoku-ji temple is not Odakyu line´s Gotoku-ji station but
Tókyú Setagaya line´s MIyanosaka station. It is a bit confusing so please be careful."

Gotoku-ji temple is a temple with long history. It was built in 1480 and
it is said to be the birhthplace of Manekineko.
Inside of the temple´s precincts was established
Manekineko´s offering place! Well, let´s talk a little bit
about origin of Gotoku-ji temple´s Manekineko....

Early in Edo period, when feudal lord Ii Naotaka (井伊直孝)
was passing by in front of the Gotoku-ji temple, a white cat
beckoned him into the temple. Naotaka thought that it was strange but
he entered the temple as he was invited.
Suddenly, it got dark outside and a thunderstorm came!
Naoka who was pleased that he did not get wet thanks to this cat,
splendidly remodeled the temple and made it his family`s temple place.
This story has spread all over the country and the custom of modeling
a white cat as a symbol of lucky charm which invites
a good luck has started. And this is why Gotoku-ji temple is known
as a birthplace of Manekineko who is bringing a good luck.

Several volunteers who tells the story to Japanese as well as foreign visitors
reside in the precincts of the temple.

”The vegetation inside the precincts of the temple is well maintained and you will hardly
find any withered plant."

When you turn to the left at the end of the street, you might see
Manekineko`s dedication place. This place has a huge number of
Manekinekos worship and it is a tourist´s attraction spot.

"Left/ This is just few of them. There are so many Manekineko that they cannot fit into
just one photo.
Right/In the middle you can see dressed up Manekineko. Besides, you can find
even cat wearing a hat."

Anywhere you look, you can find hundreds of beckoning cats.
It is cute but at the same time a little bit scary.
Also, if you keep looking at them you may see that their facial expression
might differ a bit and not only that even some of their outfit is
a bit different. You can spot for example cat with a pearl necklace.
Surely, it was taken care carefully by its owner.

"Left/ Manekineko can be purchased here at the  reception.
Right/The smallest one is almost the same size as one yen coin.(The price without
the case is 300 yen including the tax)."

Gotoku-ji temple
Setagaya, Gotoku-ji 2-24-7, Tokyo
Contact: 03-3426-1437
Business Hours: 6:00〜18:00 (reception 9:00〜16:30)
Regular Day Off: None

3. Relaxed at the Japanese style confectionery store with view
at the railway

When you leave the main temple gate, turn to the left. Walk around
the surroundings of Gotoku-ji temple and you will arrive to
Tókyú Setagaya Railway track. Cross the railway crossing and turn
to left. You can see three white flags fluttering in the wind.

"It looks more like a café than Japanese confectionary shop."

You will arrive to a popular Japanese confectionary store called
"Mahorodou Sougetsu". The shop´s name "Marohodou" comes from
the ancient Japanese word "Mahoroba" which means "a good place to live."

When entering the store pass under the short curtain, in the showcase
there is classic  rice cake stuffed with green soyabean jam
(price 300 yen tax included) and adjusted to the season of the year
kashiwamochi which is a rice cake wrapped in oak leaf
(price 180 yen tax included) and other sweets.
Japanese confectionary made by store owner Mr. Yamagishi lines up neatly.
How about to try Japanese traditional sweets Neko dorayaki
which is dessert sandwich of two small pancakes and red beans taste
(price 190 yen tax included) and coffee (price 300 yen tax included)!

"Neko dorayaki has a cut cat on the top of the sweet. Do not forget to take a photo.
By the way, also the plate has a picture of Lucky cat."

The bean paste has a just slightly sweet flavor and it is very delicious!

"Upper Left/Inside the shop if you take the window seat, you can have a nice view on
Tokyu Setagaya line."
Upper Right/You can choose your favorite Kuroshiki (which is a traditional Japanese
wrapping cloth that is frequently used to transport clothes, gives and other goods) or
hand towel.
Lower Left/You can see some original items such as  polka dots Manekineko.
Somehow it might remind you a piece of art work.
Lower Right/ Illustration of Japanese sweets made by illustrator Mr. Hirano Toshiyuki.

The official Instragram of "Mahorodou Sougetsu"
(@mahorodou_sougetsu) updates timely information about
the newest products as well as information about regular holidays.
Especially at seasonal events such as Halloween or Christmas,
you can find lots of lovely photos with seasonal sweets products.

"Upper Left/Halloween ghost and pumpkin. Such a cute ghost is not scary at all, is it?
Upper Right/ Innocent face of Santa Claus
Lower Left/ Cute Setsubun (which is Japanese event on last day of winter, usually
celebrated on February 3rd or 4th) demon will surely bring you a good luck.
Lower Right/ Hinamatsuri`s (which is girl`s festival celebrated on March 3rd) cuddling dolls
are lovely as well.

Mahorodou Sougetsu
Setagaya, Miyanosaka 1-38-19 Windsor Palace 103
Contact: 03-6320-4898
Business Hours: 9:00~19:00
Regular Day Off: Mondays
URL: http://www.mahorodou-sougetsu.com/

After visiting Mahorodou Sougetsu go back and cross the railway cross
again. This time turn to the left.
If you keep walking straight, you will reach Gotoku-ji shopping street.

"Here and there  you can find a guidance to Gotoku-ji temple together with cute cat."

In a local "Gotoku-ji shopping street, fashionable café such as
"IRON COFFEE" and Swedish tea time concept made baked sweets shop
"FIKAFABRIKEN" and other stores can be found.

Shopping street continues even after passing the Gotoku-ji station,
but from there the shopping street is called Yamashita shopping street.
It looks like it continues quite far, therefore turn at the corner of
"Naoshiya Gotoku-ji store."

If you do so, suddenly in front of you will be lots of greenery.
It connects  Akatsutsumi to Daita, Daizawa and Ikejiri and creates
4,3 km long Kitazawagawa Street with lots of greenery. 

"Left/The park is set up with light lamps therefore you can walk here even after
the sunset.
Right/Elderly people enjoy walking in this park as well."

If you keep walking, you will be surprised how neatly are
planted pink and yellow flowers in this area. It is really well
maintained park. It is also very quite so it might be a good place
to walk with small children.

4. Let`s chat and do some shopping at store where
delicious fish product from Nagasaki and Goto area can be purchased.

Enter to the left in front of the Picon Bar and the street
in front of you is also Yamashita shopping street.
At this area the shopping street seems very lively and it might
be convenient to live here.

At this street three years ago was opened "Yamaguchi Fishery Tokyo
Gotoku-ji" store. How about to enter the shop to see what do they

"The shop has a cool image and it is quite inviting"

Apart from others, you can purchase here ingredients used for
cooking such as frozen raw surimi which is minced fish meat
mashed into a paste (price for red type 648 yen including tax and
for white and black type, each for 432 yen including the tax).
Some of surimi is produced from squid and it can be used as filling for
rolled cabbage or wrapped in shumai`s wrapping which is Chinese style
steam meat dumpling`s wrapping. It is delicious and it looks gorgeous
at the same time.
Recently squid cannot be caught in Goto not so much anymore
at this season, therefore next delivery timing is not decided at the moment.
The first customer who comes, will be served first.
All the staff at this store is very friendly and they will gladly answer
all the questions you will have for them.
If you are in this area do not forget to stop by.

Hamaguchi Fishery Tokyo Gotoku-ji Store
Setagaya, Gotoku-ji 1-45-2
Contact: 03-6751-0570
Business Hours: 11:00~19:00
Regular Day Off: Mondays (In case there is national holiday
on Monday, the store is opened)
URL: http://www.goto-maki.net/map/html/gotokuji.html

That is all for today`s walk. Today we did not go to more than
just a middle of the Yamashita shopping street. There are still
shops that we recommend to visit, such as Danish famous
bakery store "Uneclef" or famous soba (which is Japanese buckwheat
noodles) store called "Amekoya" and many more.
And inside of  Gokoku-ji temple`s precincts from now on will be
lots of new greenery therefore walking there will be surely refreshing

Miyanosaka Entrance 2
1. Enoshima Electric Railway 601
2. Gotoku-ji Temple
3. Mahorodou Sougetsu
4. Hamaguchi Suisan Gotoku-ji Store
Gotoku-ji station

Distance: 1,8 km
Steps: approximately 3,270
Time: estimated 23 minutes of walk + tea time and shopping time
Budget: 2,500 yen


Original Article: https://sanporge.com/goutokuji_manekineko/
Translated and Modified by: Eva Navratilova