Imado Shrine, where lucky cats bring love


2018.02.08 (Thu)

Imado Shrine is a small place in Tokyo's old Asakusa area about 10-15 minutes walk from Asakusa Station and Senso-ji Temple.

This is a place with long history, but also quite a quirky local spot to visit. Imado Shrine is one of the main places associated with the Japanese manekineko lucky cats. A pair of the lucky cats waits for you at the shrine that is famous for granting wishes related to love.

Imado Shrine dates back to 1063. Emperor Ojin, Izanagi-no-mikoto and Izanami-no-mikoto are enshrined here. The marriage of the Shinto gods Izanagi and Izanami resulted in the creation of the Japanese islands and many deities. This makes Imado Shrine a place to pray for love and marriage. In addition the Japanese lucky god Fukurokuju is also enshrined here, and he is the god of wealth, happiness, and longevity.

Although the shrine itself is relatively small, it is home to a number of manekineko statues. The lucky cats are also depicted on the shrine’s “ema”. Ema are the wooden tablets for writing wishes. Visitors have left behind thousands of wishes on ema, hanging them on special racks in front of the shrine. There are two types of ema, one with a pair of white manekineko cats waving their right paw and another type with a pair of white cats dressed in traditional Japanese kimono.

If you are curious about your future, you can also buy one of the shrine’s “omikuji”, a fortune with a kind of love horoscope. Of course the lucky cats are also on the fortune, together with the characters for love and winning.

For extra luck, touch the two stone manekineko sitting in front of the shrine. It is recommended to touch the cats when you make your wish. And then take a picture of them, make it your wallpaper, and repeat your wish every day when you see the cats looking at you from your screen.

Walk from Asakusa Station to Imado Shrine

You can take a walk through Sumida Park from Asakusa along Sumida River. From the red Azuma-bashi Bridge walk upstream through the park and continue straight after Kototoi-bashi Bridge. When you reach an open space and the building of the Taito sport center, there is a fork in the road. Take the left side of the road. Imado Shrine is just a minute away.

Along this way there are excellent spots to take pictures of Tokyo Skytree, the bridges across Sumida River, and the golden Asahi Beer building. In early February “ume” plum trees are starting to bloom. In spring this park is a very popular place for “hanami” cherry blossom viewing. Several cafes are located on the street facing the park and opposite Imado Shrine is an artisan sweets shop that also serves coffee and tea. Have fun exploring this part of Asakusa.

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