Worshiped for good luck and positive results, cats have long been considered near deity level in Japan. And for couples looking for good luck in their relationship, a popular place to visit is the Imado Shrine in Tokyo’s Taito City where they can pray to the god of marriage enshrined within this cat-decorated sanctuary, famous as a matchmaking spot.
Originally constructed approximately 1000 years ago, Imado Shrine was rebuilt several times, as it was often damaged in war. Imado Shrine is said to be beneficial for couples wanting to marry, and for people hoping to find a good match, because it is here that god couple Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto are enshrined within. These two pillar gods are the gods of men and women who are said to have created the land of Japan, gave birth to various gods, and gave birth to mountains, seas, and vegetation.
And a recurring motif pervades throughout the shrine - cats. There are all sorts of cat themed items such as large stone statues of cats that are said to fulfill your wishes when you add them as your smartphone wallpaper, smaller ceramic cats that decorate the flower gardens, cat designed amulets and ‘fortune sticks (sometimes scrolls)’ to offer protection and luck.
Imado Shrine also holds matchmaking parties! And although you may not be visiting for that purpose, you never know who you’ll meet!
*Due to Covid19, matchmaking parties are currently on hold.
Visitors will find Imado Shrine after enjoying a short, leisurely walk along the Sumida River, with TOKYO SKYTREE in view, and only 15 minutes from Asakusa Station. And don’t be surprised if you see some cats walking about. It is their territory, afterall!
Now that we’ve ‘let the cat out of the bag’ about Imado Shrine, be sure to make it a part of your itinerary when you visit Taito City, and experience its magic! Not to do so would be a cat-astrophe!