What is Gotokuji?
Gotokuji is a Soto Buddhist temple in Setagaya ward. It started in 1480 when Kira Masatada, lord of Setagaya castle, built it for his deceased grandmother. The original construction was a Rinzai sect temple but then in 1584 it converted to the Soto sect. Gotokuji is the Bodaiji, or family temple, for the Ii family, the lords of Setagaya, and it is known for having the grave of Ii Naosuke.
Connection with the Ii family
There is this legend regarding how it became the Ii family’s bodaiji. Ii Naosuke’s son Ii Naotaka saw the priest's pet cat beckoning in front of the gate when passing by the temple on his way home from falcon hunting, and decided to take a break at the temple. Shortly thereafter, thunderstorms occurred and Naotaka was pleased that he did not get wet thanks to the cat and because of this, Gotokuji became the bodaiji family temple of the Ii family. After that, the maneki neko beckoning cat became a lucky charm of Gotokuji and the shofukudo hall on the grounds has come to be dedicated to the many large and small beckoning cats.
The nearest station is Miyanosaka Station on the Tokyu Railways Setagaya line. It’s a 5 to 10 minute walk from the station. Also, it is a 15 minute walk from Gotokuji Station on the Odakyu Odawara line.
2-24-7, Gotokuji, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
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