I am very conscious that I need to take care of those one off things that I still want to do in Japan, and Tokyo especially. A few weeks ago, a good friend volunteered to join me for two of those – cats and crepes!
Gotokuji Temple, located in Southern Tokyo in the Setagaya ward is also known as the cat temple. In fact, after spending any time at all in Japan you will have seen statues of a “beckoning cat” which is believed to be lucky. That legend comes from this Buddhist temple.
To paraphrase the legend, there was poor monk with a cat he loved. He one day asked the cat to help him make some money. So the cat went to the road to beckon travelers to come to the temple. One day he attracted some wealthy lords to the temple who then got caught in a storm. They were so grateful for the shelter the monk (and the cat) provided they bestowed great wealth on the monk and temple.
While you don’t need long, the temple is a fun place to visit. You can’t help but smile and laugh as you turn each corner and find more cats. Look in the lantern –- cats. Look inside the shrine –- more cats. It is definitely both unique and fun.
The previous weekend when visiting Harajuku, I wanted to eat Comcrepe which at one time were #1. But that location recently closed!!! Of course we still had crepes in Harajuku (you can’t go there and not have them) but I still wanted to try the crème brulee crepes at Comcrepe.
Since Harajuku was closed, we went to Jiyugaoka. I am so glad we did. This is a fun and cute area of Tokyo I have never seen before. It has a very European feels with a walking street, cafes & boutique shops, flowers, and murals. It was very charming.
The crepe did not disappoint and we both loved it. Although it was a little too much (usual for Japan and a dessert). And neither of us felt well afterwards but I don’t know if that was the crepe, the bowl of ramen I neglected to mention we a few hours prior, or the heat.
Either way, I still definitely recommend both Gotokuji Temple and Jiyugaoka as great less visited options for Tokyo!