Neko-dera (cat temple) (猫寺)

Neko-dera is the common name for temples deeply linked to cats that exist all over Japan. Many neko-dera originated as temples enshrining cats that saved people or cursed people.

Shonen-ji Temple (Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City) is commonly called Neko-dera, because of the legend that a cat helped to restore the temple to express its gratitude. The temple holds memorial services for animals, including cats. According to the legend of Shozen-in Temple (Mizukami-mura, Kuma-gun), it was built to appease the cat's vengeful spirit haunting the Sagara clan, which was believed to cause the death of young Tadafusa SAGARA, who was the 19th successor.

Gotoku-ji Temple (Setagaya Ward, Tokyo), which is believed to be the birthplace of manekineko (beckoning cat), attributes its prosperity to 'the good luck brought by having repaid obligations to cats and a miracle of well-wish; the very reason why the temple is called neko-dera.'
Jisho-in Temple (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo), which enshrines neko jizoson (cat jizo (guardian deity of children)) as the honzon (principal image of Buddha) unveiled only at Setsubun (the traditional end of winter), has its origin in the legend of Dokan OTA, who won the Battle of Egota-Numabukurohara guided by a cat.

[Original Japanese]