Gotanjoji Temple is located in Echizen, Fukui Prefecture. This historical temple was built as Keizan Zenji, who opened the Sotoshu Daihonzan Sojiji Temple, was born in Echizen. Today it is famous for the temple of cats, and you can meet the cats in the precinct, the parking area and everywhere.
It hadn’t been called the Cat Temple until the monks first encountered four abandoned cats. The cat-friendly monks felt sorry for those cats, and were giving water and feeding. Then, they increased to 10, 20… and the number increased to 80 at one point. After that, the monks started to have the cats surgical sterilization performed and to open a meeting for finding foster parents for the cats on a regular basis, and now it has settled around 20 to 30 cats. About 10 ascetic monks alternately sweep out the cat hutch and feed them twice a day.
The meeting for finding foster parents is very popular as the cat from Gotanjoji may bring people good fortune, so almost all meetings are success to find all the foster parents. It also became popular as a “matchmaking temple,” since the temple has helped creating the large number of bond between the cats and the foster parents. Thus, a lot of couples living inside and outside Fukui visit the place, and 700 sightseeing buses annually come and parking lot is filled with about 50 cars on weekends. A collection box is placed in the precinct, and donations are also accepted, which are used for the cost of feed and treatment. They are actively offering information on the meeting for potential foster parents via Facebook and blog, and you should also check out the web feed with full of the cute cats pictures.
32-1-1, Syoden-cho, Echizen-shi, Fukui
We recommend you to go to the temple by car. Please be careful when you drive at the temple. There are many cats!