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AP Photos: Countless lucky cats beckon at Tokyo temple

July 10, 2019
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In this June 25, 2019, photo, a small beckoning cat figurine is place on top of a large statue at Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo. According to a centuries-old legend provided by the temple, Gotokuji, a Buddhist temple located in the quiet neighborhood of Setagaya, is the birthplace of beckoning cats, the famous cat figurines that are widely believed to bring good luck and prosperity to home and businesses. Some visitors come just to snap a few photos, while others make a trip to the temple to pray and make wishes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

TOKYO (AP) — Countless cats beckon visitors at a temple in a quiet Tokyo neighborhood.

Legend provided by the Gotokuji Buddhist temple says it is the birthplace of beckoning cats, the figurines widely believed to bring good luck and prosperity.

Some visitors come to the temple to snap a few photos, while others pray and make wishes.

The cat figurines are so plentiful, the Setagaya neighborhood seems proud to carry more luck than the rest of the city combined.

The streets leading to the temple are crammed with gift shops selling anything printed with beckoning cat images. A local train is adorned with the images, as is the temple’s vending machine.

And, of course, temple visitors believing in the luck the cats might bring them can obtain more figurines for their overpopulated shelves.

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