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It's said the temple is the place of origin of the famous Japanese beckoning cat "maneki neko" that many of us got used to seeing in front of Japanese shops. There is a belief that "maneki neko" brings in customers and money.

There are many legends regarding this temple built back in the 14th century, but my favorite one is about the feudal lord who passed by the temple and was beckoned by a cat. Eventually, he followed the cat and decided to stay in the temple.

Following years, there had been a fire in the temple caused by a thunderstorm. The lord was so thankful to the cat and the temple that sheltered him in the past so he decided to collect enough funds and afterwards rebuild the temple. The lord claimed it as his family property and later the temple was called Gōtokuji.

People believe that "maneki neko" makes their dreams come true so they started bringing cat dolls into the temple. Nowadays, there are over 1000 cat dolls in Gōtokuji.

The temple is large, but the designated place for cat dolls, actually in a very hidden corner. Do not worry, you’ll find it easily as you notice everyone goes in the same direction.

Have you been there? Would you like to go to cat heaven in Japan?


Author: Hagverdiyeva O.

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Statues on the top of Mt Bunaga-dake

It has been believed that Gods dwell on mountains from ancient times, therefore Japanese used to climb mountains to pray for the health of family members. This is called mountain worship and many people climb high mountains to pray to Gods.

Popular mountain for worshiping are ↓

  • Fuji

  • Tate

  • Tsurugi

  • Mitake

On the way to Bunaga-dake

There are organizations supporting mountain climbing in various places in Japan. What are the roles of these organizations? Well, their roles are to examine hiking routes, leave some ribbon/strips for hikers showing the right direction, install small boards/tabloids indicating the direction and hiking time, distance etc.

Do you have similar entities ↑ in your country?

Nowadays, these organizations are important key players in the contribution to mountaineering in Japan. Most of the mountains are well equipped with huts, food, vending machines sometimes, toilets. Occasionally you can find porters for carrying luggage, ropeways. All these conveniences attract even more locals as well as tourist, foreign residents to join mountain exploration.

– Can you guess who were the first mountaineers of modern “land of the rising sun”?

– Apparently, not Japanese per se.

Apart from religious climbing, the pioneers of the modern mountaineering culture were foreigners from Britain. They climbed Japanese mountains and posted mountaineering records on the magazines. Japanese got inspired by these records and later formed the Mountaineering Club such as Sangaku-kai (山岳会) which contributed in developing new routes all over Japanese mountains.

Aside from mountain worship and professional mountaineering, the number of enthusiasts hiking general courses have increased.

When I climbed mount Fuji, I saw a group of people wearing white clothes and holding a long cane.

Have you hiked to any mountain in Japan or abroad? Feel free to share your experience by commenting below.


Author: Hagverdiyeva O.

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There are 3 “gosanke”(御三家) in Japan you have probably heard about a lot. These are Yoshinoya, Sukiya and Matsuya, famous Japanese fast food chains. ⠀⠀


“Gosanke” means a combination of three key words: 有力(influential) , 有名(famous), 人気(popular).⠀⠀


Here I will share about Matsuya, but later on I will post about the other two as well.⠀⠀

Japanese food chain Matsuya was founded in 1966 by Toshio Kawarabuki (瓦葺利夫). However, it was a Chinese food restaurant at the beginning and due to unsuccessful business was closed in 3 years.

Later on, inspired by the taste of Yoshinoya’s gyudon (or gyūmeshi) Kawarabuki decided to dive into gyudon research. In desire to recreate the taste that inspired him, Kawarabuki opened a new restaurant at Ekoda station (Nerima-ku, Tokyo) in 1968. Nowadays, this place is considered the birthplace of Matsuya. There were many schools in the neighborhood and the area was famous as a bedtown. It used to be crowded by salarymen in the evening and students during the day. Following the sense of the city, Matsuya has put an accent on curry rice, gyudon and teishoku (complex meal) which led to its popularity.⠀⠀

There are 1126 Matsuya restaurants all over Japan, except Aomori, Akita, Tottori, Shimane, Kochi, Shiga, Nagasaki prefectures. Matsuya has expanded to China, Taiwan and the USA as well. Compared to its competitors, Yoshinoya and Sukiya, Matsuya mostly expanded in big cities. In Tokyo Matsuya restaurants are two times more than Yoshinoya.⠀⠀


In a hope to grow even bigger, Matsuya has opened sub-chains Matsunoya, My Curry, Cafe Terrasse Verte and several more.⠀


In 2018 Ambassador of Georgia to Japan was featured in Japanese TV eating at Matsuya thus bringing the topic up that foreigners like Matsuya.⠀


Author: Hagverdiyeva O.

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