- 2 min read

Gotokuji Amidst the Rain

An afternoon in the Gotokuji Temple

Stuck inside for days because of rain is no way to spend time enjoying anything, especially while in Japan. In an attempt to make something of my days off from work, I planned a trip out to Gotokuji Temple and made it Monday's objective. Umbrella in hand, I took the two trains out to Gotokuji and sleepily enjoyed the quiet ride in transit to Setagaya.

Upon arrival at Gotokuji station, the famous white lucky cat statue siginifies you are in the right place. I found my way to the temple easily and found it in every way as beautiful and calming as I could have imagined.

The temple itself is beautiful, but the atmosphere on this particular Monday after the rains had soaked in, made everything so much more peaceful: I felt subdued by my surroundings. An old man approached me, led me to the incense and lit it for me. After offering me the incense, he then showed where to put it, how to pray, and led me to the bell to ring. The rich green grasses, trees, bushes and moss were seemingly heavy with water, lending themselves to a deeper emerald. The quiet of the world was born from the rains. I said my prayers, bowed graciously, and swung the bell.

Next, he showed me the ema boards, where you write your wish on one side and leave it hanging in hopes of it coming true. I wrote a wish for my nieces and hung it amidst the wooden dreams of others.

And the cats...Of course the allure of the cats attracted me to Gotokuji from the beginning. The statues of white cats lined the temple, staring out at every tourist, visitor, and local, although today, it was just me and a few others. The old man took my camera, motioned for me to kneel and pose like the cat, with my right hand up, paw curled. Sheepishly, I posed. How much more tourist can I look?

It was worth it though. Walking back down the small, residential streets towards the station, I felt new again.

And it didn't even rain.

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Victoria Vlisides 8 years ago
Beautiful photos! Meeting that old man made the experience a unique one, huh?