This was our first trip into Tokyo because we are staying in Yokohama, which is about 45 minutes away. We wanted to get to two areas, Gotokuji and Yanaka Cat Street. Even though they were quite far apart, we managed to make it to both.
We started in the Setagaya ward of Tokyo where the Gotokuji Temple is located. This area embraced the cat theme and realized that most people were visiting for this temple. When I approached the visitor information booth at the train station, the ladies immediately asked if I was going to Gotokuji, and provided directions and pamphlets in English for me.
Most temples have a pagoda of some type...here is a three tiered one...
The incense burner...with a cat on top!
Loved how he had his paw on a ball...kept waiting for him to knock it off!
I have always been fascinated with these lanterns. There are so many styles and sizes.
As we approached the temple, we started finding cats everywhere...even in and on the lanterns.
Gotokuji legend states that a cat beckoned a samurai into a building during a thunderstorm. Where he was standing was struck by lightening, so the cat saved his life. This temple only has white cats...some others we will visit have black ones as well.
So this Buddhist temple is the birthplace of the Maneki-neko.
Another cute lantern
Vending machine in Gotokuji area...there are vending machines all over Japan. I wonder who services them all!
We left Setagaya and headed over to Nippori and Yanaka Cat Street. It took just over an hour to arrive but we were not disappointed...cat stores and cat goods everywhere!
Lots of shopping...thankfully, the street isn't but about two blocks long, or we would have run out of money!
We left cat street and went in search of a cat cafe...found it! They didn't have cats in this cafe, but they had cute cat shaped sweets...
You could also paint your own Maneki-Neko!! Here is mine in the works...
Lastly, we headed to Ueno station to trade in our Japan Rail vouchers for actual passes that would start the next day. We purchased these in America and had to redeem them once in Japan. We did the rail pass for 14 days, and decided to splurge for the Green car, which is reserved seating. This pass allows you to ride any JR train, bus, subway, and the Shinkansen trains anywhere you want without additional payment.
We had dinner at the station. This is a Yuzu Sparkling Cider. Yuzu is a citrus, I would say it is like a lemon and grapefruit combo in flavor.
We also had Tonkatsu, which is fried port cutlet, and we added a fried prawn to our meal. It was delicious!
Next week, we head down to Kyoto...