Tokyo's Gotokuji temple has long attracted spiritual visitors with its thousands of figurines of beckoning white cats, thought to bring good luck. But of late it has brought in another breed: Instagrammers.
"I actually Googled 'Instagram spots Tokyo'," said Emily Lin, a 25-year-old tourist from Hong Kong.
"This was named one of the most 'Instagrammable spots."
"These cats are like a symbol of luck in the Japanese culture," she added, looking for for new angles to capture the copious cats.
Ying-Chi Hsueh, 31, a photography student from Taiwan, also said he had been drawn to the temple by the photogenic felines.
They were among dozens of visitors there the week before tomorrow's International Cat Day, snapping shots of the temple's "maneki-neko" or "beckoning cat" figurines.
Temple lore says the popularity of the figures was inspired by an event at Gotokuji in the 15th century.
The priest at the time kept a cat called Tama, which according to legend one day strolled out of the temple and raised its right paw to beckon a powerful samurai lord inside -- moments before a thunderstorm stuck.
Impressed by the cat who had helped him escape the storm, the lord became a patron of the temple.
The figurines are often spotted in businesses and some versions feature a paw that moves back and forth.
"The feeling of appreciation will bring you good luck." And the feline figurines have certainly brought luck to the temple, which says it is seeing a growing number of visitors.
They spread the word about the temple, making this place globally famous," Kasukawa said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)