Cat tour Asakusa Tokyo Japan, visit the Gotokuji Temple cat temple, discover the meaning of maneki neko.
The cat tour in Asakusa
During the cat tour in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan by a local guide you will start with a visit to a cat cafe where you can make your own maneki neko. While enjoying a drink, surrounded by cute cats that you can pet. You will also eat Japanese sweets. And of course you will visit the cat temple. But there are also a lot of cat statues (large and small) in Asakusa, that your guide wills how you during the tour.
The tour takes 2.5 hours and costs € 62 per person. Including material to make your own lucky cat, a visit to the cat café, the sweet snack, and of course a Japanese catmom that gives you nice explanation and answers all your questions about Japanese (lucky) cats. You can book the tour via AirBnb.
About the lucky cat the maneki neko
You can spot the lucky cat almost everywhere in Japan, it is the most common talisman. There are several stories about the origin of the lucky cat. The story most commonly told at the temple is that a woman had to give up on her cat for financial reasons. In her dreams her cat came back, she saw this as a sign that she had to make a statue of her cat. Because her statuettes became so popular and were bought by people in large numbers, she no longer had to worry about money.
The meaning of lifting the paw of the lucky cat
If the kitten sits upright and waves its left paw, that is actually the traditional form. These fortune cats are often placed at the entrance of a store. This would lead to more customers. If you give someone a fortune cat with his left paw up, you wish him good business with more customers.
If the right paw swings, this would provide more wealth and happiness. Give your lucky cat with his right paw up as a gift, then wish the person who gives the lucky cat a gift of wealth and happiness. When the lucky kitten keeps both his feet in the air, he is happy and makes sure that he protects your house or business. The higher the cat raises the paw, the more happiness.
The collar, the bib and the coin
Almost all luckycats have a collar with a bell on it and a cloth around their neck. This traditional cat clothing is based on the outfit that cats in rich families used to wear. The cloth around the neck is a symbol for protection. The bell around the neck was especially practical, so people could keep an eye on where the cat was.
Visit the cat temple and cat cafes in Tokyo yourself
I personally thought the price of the tour was a little high (because I would do it together with my boyfriend and the price would be € 124 for two persons). He also, loves cats, but he wasn’t as enthusiastic as I was about painting your own maneki neko.) That is why I made the choice to visit the places ourselves. I myself visited the Gotokuji Temple cat temple. If you get off at the Gotokuji train station you can already see the first big luckycat. Google maps is your biggest friend. The temple is a bit hidden and you can easily walk past it. Once you have found the temple, you will see a lot of fortune cats. In all shapes and sizes. Especially nice that there are also very old images in between, these look a bit older. Normally it is busy at the temple because the locals also come here to wish for love and prosperity. You do this in Japan by writing your wish on a wooden sign. (In this case wooden plates with lucky cats on it). It seems that many wishes have already been fulfilled in this temple.
Owl cafes and shiba cafes in Tokyo
The cat cafés are not large but contain sufficient opportunities for the cats to climb and they have the choice whether or not to seek the company of the people who are in the cat café. Despite being a big fan of shiba dogs, I decided after a glance through the window of the Shiba café not to go inside. I found the livingspace where they stayed too small. The dogs were wearing shorts where they put the stools in, I didn’t find this completely neat and for that reason I skipped the dog café. I have been to an owl cafe, here too the animals were very close together. I also found that despite the darkness there was still a lot of loud music and still some lights in the room that might be disturbing to the nocturnal animals.