Here’s a familiar saying: “In Ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped as gods; they have never forgotten this.” Certainly in Japan, cats are still given a huge amount of respect, with entire islands of moggies being given free roam to peacefully exist in their own little kitty ecosystem. Of course, things aren’t perfect, and stray and abandoned cats are a sad reality in Japan as much as they are in many other countries. But today we’re here to appreciate the happy cats of Gotanjo temple in Fukui Prefecture, who are lovingly tended to by Buddhist monks and fawned over by the adoring tourists who come to visit. You can even get a special kitty cat fortune and see what’s in store for the coming year!
Gotanjo Temple is so well-known for its plethora of feline residents, it’s now unofficially been dubbed “Kitty Temple” by visitors and local residents. The monks feed and care for the cats, who spend their days either lounging around on top of the omikuji (fortune) stands or trotting after the monks hoping for a tidbit.
あきぴら (@akipira) November 11, 2014
▲ “Here I am at Gotanjo Temple, aka Kitty Temple!”
田舎の消化器外科医 (@inakashoge) October 25, 2014
▲ “Pussycat feeding time at Gotanjo Temple!”
雪の中、福井の猫寺行ってきた！ 意外にたくさんにゃんこさんがいた。 寒そうだが、なかなか元気だった。 http://t.co/6s7IWYZo6V—
ぜんまいアザラシ (@8040zenmai) January 01, 2015
▲ “At Gotanjo Temple, in the snow! There’s many more moggies than I was expecting! They look a little chilly but still energetic!”
If you’d like to see the kitties in action, here’s an adorable video shot at the temple, where you can see the cheeky cats begging tourists for treats, snoozing on benches, and sniffing at the camera!
The sign on the omikuji stand invites patrons to reach around the snoozing cat to grab their fortune.
福井着いた 御誕生寺ニャンコめっちゃいる http://t.co/FTOSSugnXJ—
ミヤワキ ユウタ (@MY_0000_) December 27, 2014
▲ “So many kitties at Gotanjo Temple!”
ねず菜 (@nezu_na) January 07, 2015
The fortunes themselves are kitty-themed!
Aira@Walther P38 (@LPtair74cult) November 30, 2014
▲ “My omikuji fortune from Gotanjo Temple! I got this tiny kitty with it!
If you’re in need of some extra special good luck for the coming year, or if you simply love to look at hordes of fluffy, contented kitties, then be sure to add a visit to Kitty Temple to your travel itinerary next time you come to Japan!