News On Japan

Over 3 Million Foreign Tourists Visit Japan for Second Consecutive Month: Discovering Hidden Gems

TOKYO, May 16 (News On Japan) - Last month, the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan exceeded 3 million for the second consecutive month. Among them, some are flocking to lesser-known spots that even many Japanese are unaware of.

One of these hidden gems is a temple located in a residential area of Kansai. The temple's entrance is crowded with foreign tourists enjoying the greenery.

Foreign tourists form long queues, drawn by the promise of seeing something special ahead. What are they seeking at the end of the line? It is the famous "Maneki Neko" or beckoning cats. Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo’s Setagaya is renowned for its collection of approximately 10,000 beckoning cat figurines, attracting many foreign visitors.

Many foreign tourists consider it a must-visit spot in Japan. From early in the morning, numerous foreign tourists come to see the many beckoning cats placed there. The temple's history originates from a cat that was said to have beckoned a feudal lord to the temple, thus saving it from a lightning storm.

One visitor explained, "I heard about this place from a friend who visited a few months ago. I'm staying in Tokyo for six days and came here because it looked beautiful."

Another visitor mentioned, "I came to make a wish with the beckoning cat for my family's health."

Although the beckoning cats are popular as souvenirs imbued with wishes, the temple faces a dilemma. Visitors often leave one cat behind after purchasing two, inscribing their pet's name on it. However, the temple prefers that visitors take the cats home without writing anything on them, as they consider the figurines sacred. The temple plans to continue reminding visitors with signs.

Meanwhile, another hidden gem that has captured the attention of foreign tourists is a set of stairs located just off a main road in Tokyo’s Minato Ward. Tourists, mostly foreign, line up to take pictures at this spot. The stairs lead to an underground parking lot, but they offer a unique angle for photos with Tokyo Tower in the background.

Two tourists from Argentina, who saw the location on Instagram, explained, "We saw it on Instagram and wanted to take a photo."

Local residents might not visit this spot, but it has become a popular destination for foreign tourists, especially at night when Tokyo Tower is illuminated, creating a picturesque scene. However, even at night, be prepared for long lines.

Source: ANN

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