It is the Buddhist temple which is said to be the origin of maneki-neko or a luck-inviting cat figurine, beckoning with its right front paw. In its temple grounds, a number of historical assets still remain.
The Buddhist temple was originally founded as a Rinzai school Zen temple (Kotokuin) in 1480 by Kira Masatada, the lord of Setagaya Castle, to mourn the spirit of his deceased aunt. It was later converted to a Soto Zen Buddhist temple. A temple legend says that during the early 17th century, Ii Naotaka, then the second lord of Omi-Hikone Domain, escaped from being caught in a thundershower, having been invited into the temple by a cat that lived there. After that, Naotaka decided to make it the temple for the Ii clan. After Naotaka had passed away, the temple was renamed Gotokuji, from his posthumous Buddhist name ”Kyushoin-den Gotokuten'ei-daikoji.” The cat that created an opportunity for the temple to grow into a respectable temple was deified as Neko Kannon Bodhisattva (fortune-inviting Kannon), and was later said to bring good fortune, being called ”shou-fuku byou-ji” or “manegi-neko.” This Buddhist temple has been filled with lucky cat figurines donated by worshipers ever since. It is a 15-minute walk from the Odakyu Odawara Line Gotokuji Station.