Countless lucky cats beckon at Tokyo temple

Countless cats beckon visitors at a temple in a quiet Tokyo neighborhood. Legend provided by the Gotokuji Buddhist temple says it is the birthplace of beckoning cats, the figurines widely believed to bring good luck and prosperity.

Some visitors come to the temple to snap a few photos, while others pray and make wishes.

The cat figurines are so plentiful, the Setagaya neighborhood seems proud to carry more luck than the rest of the city combined.

The streets leading to the temple are crammed with gift shops selling anything printed with beckoning cat images. A local train is adorned with the images, as is the temple's vending machine.

And, of course, temple visitors believing in the luck the cats might bring them can obtain more figurines for their overpopulated shelves.

A tourist visiting from Hong Kong prays at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A tourist walk between beckoning cat figurines after posing for photos with them at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A visitor takes photos of beckoning cat figurines at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A visitor takes pictures of beckoning cat figurines at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A prayer is written on a wooden panel donned with an image of a beckoning cat at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Beckoning cat figurines are on display at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A small beckoning cat figurine is placed on top of a large statue at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A woman poses for photos with beckoning cat figurines at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Messages are written on the back of beckoning cat figurines at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Stained beckoning cat figurines are seen at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Commuters ride a Setagaya Line train donned with images of beckoning cats near Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A small beckoning cat figurine is placed inside a stone lamp at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)


With AP news story, AP PHOTOS: Countless lucky cats beckon at Tokyo temple

Photos and Text by Jae. C. Hong