Gotokuji Temple is a Buddhist temple of the Soto sect located in Setagaya City, Tokyo prefecture. Built in 1480 as “Kotokuin”, the temple changed to its current name in 1659. The temple is known for its thousands of manekineko (lucky cat) statues that can be found all throughout the temple.
Gotokuji is located in a residential district and is secluded from the larger cities in Tokyo. After entering through Gotokuji’s main gate, you will see a large incense pot with a statue of a guardian dog perched on its top which is part of the approach to the temple’s main hall. After seeing the first hall (Butsu-den), walk around to the right in order to continue to walk towards the back of the temple in order to visit the main hall (Hon-do). Instead of walking around the Butsu-den, you can also visit Gotokuji Temple’s 3 tiered pagoda located in front of Butsu-den on the left-hand side. The temple is very nice to look at and features mainly green roofs with gold details on its buildings.
Gotokuji is known for its large collection of lucky cat statues donated to the temple by worshippers. There are thousands of these statues, located in a small garden-of-sorts on the back left side of Gotokuji Temple. Some of the statues contained names and messages decorated by visitors to the temple.