Day 37

 Our objective today is to visit Gotukuki temple, known for its cat statues. A slight miscalculation (too many starred shrines and temples on our Gmap) takes us first much further. We realize too late that we are almost arriving at Okunimata shrine, another shrine in the list of important shrines, but one we had deemed to be too far west to go. Oh well, we scored a number of Eki stamps in the process, and we might as well visit. We will go to the cat shrine after lunch. We enter the grounds through a side gate. As usual in these Shinto shrines, there are many temples, some bigger than others. As usual, too, the place is not empty: it is lunchtime, and people are coming to reset. While walking the grounds we find some very old and impressive trees, and think of Noe of course. Leaving the shrine, we come onto a large avenue full of nice zelkova trees. We tour Fuchu a bit, stop for lunch, and take subway and streetcar to the next temple.

Gotokuji temple is an Edo era temple that is known for its large number of lucky beckoning cat statues. The story is that, during a walk, the master of the place got caught by a thunderstorm. He was almost killed by a ray, but the monk’s cat saved him, thus the cat statue and all the cats. The place is nicely green, next to a cemetery. In the cemetery, there are the graves of the successive feudal Ii lords and their first wives, including Tairo, the thirteenth lord of the clan Naosuke and the second generation of the rebuilder of the temple, Naotaka. New buildings are popping up, clearly the place is thriving. The main Butsu-den dates back to 1677. And there are many white and red cat amulets all over the place!

Next we walk back to the subway station, make a stop home to gather the hanging laundry, as some rain is announced, then join Noe and Róbert in Waseda. In the evening, we go close to Tokyo station for food and craft beer, then tour the Tokyo station neighborhood by night. There are some nice statues, and Tokyo station is beautiful, illuminated at first, but we are late: the illumination stops after a minute. Róbert shows us the imperial entrance, a section reserved for the emperor and his family, who can walk in a straight line from the imperial domain to come and take the train. Róbert tells us he witnessed the process once by chance! 



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