The Story of Maneki Neko - The Cat of Goutoku Temple
Around 1650, in the Setagaya ward of Tokyo, there was a temple called Goutoku, which was very poor.
The monk who took care of the place, lived there with his beloved cat. One day he told it, “I wish you could return the favour for my having taken care of you so well.” A few days later, the wealthy samurai Naotaka Ii, Lord of Hikone Castle, and his hunting party ventured into the temple’s compound.
He told the monk, “We were walking by when a cat at the front gate beckoned us in with its paw.
May we rest here?” Soon after that, a fierce storm came but Ii and his party were spared from it.
While waiting for the storm to pass, the warrior became impressed with the monk’s nobleness and the cat’s spiritual attitude, and decided to be the temple’s patron, thus rescuing it from
Years later, when the cat had died, the monk buried it within the compound. In memorial to his beloved lost pet, he constructed a stone replica of it. Afterward, rumors spread throughout the surrounding community that prayers made to the image, actually came true. Thus, the traditional belief of the maneki neko began.