Tokushima

A “monster cat” god who grants wishes and helps win competitions

Cat-Themed “Power Spots”

The Cat God of Omatsudaigongen Shrine

Tokushima’s cat god is the central figure in one of Japan’s three great magical cat legends, alongside those of Arima and Nabeshima. It was once the beloved calico cat of O-matsu, a local woman who died an unjust death. Hearing her dying plea, it transformed into a monster and took revenge. For this it was made a god of competitions and wishes. Today, many people visit to pray for success, good luck, and making their dreams come true. Inside the shrine grounds, it’s cats, cats, and more cats. You’ll even see actual cats at play, something that’s sure to tickle any cat lover’s fancy.

About 10,000 cat icons watch over the shrine, including rare cat guardian statues

Visitors who come to pray at the shrine often take home cat icons. If your wish comes true, it’s customary to come back to the shrine and bring one more cat than you took home. Over the years, this has resulted in a collection of around 10,000 cat icons of varying shapes and sizes. At the entrance, visitors are greeted by a 2 meter-tall jumbo-sized cat. There are “rubbing cats” that ward off illness, fierce guardian cats, and even giant Buddha cats. Keep an eye out for the pawprints in the flagstones and the cat-shaped roof tiles, too.

Delve into the legend of the monster cat at the onsite museum

The legend takes place about 330 years ago, in the Edo Period. A village headman borrowed money from a rich merchant to save his impoverished community. When he died of an illness, his wife O-matsu, who is depicted in votive images in the shrine, was forced to take on the debt. She appealed to the local magistrate, but was unjustly condemned. Her pet cat transformed into a monster and tormented the merchant and magistrate for generations, avenging its wronged master. The temple’s museum includes 10 eerie but beautiful cutout pictures by famed artist Masayuki Miyata, depicting the legend of the monster cat for today’s generation.

Add a raw egg for perfect Tokushima ramen

Tokushima ramen uses a thick brown soup made from pork bone and dark soy sauce, resulting in a rich, sweet flavor. It’s eaten with a raw egg. There are also variations with yellow and white soup, equally delicious.

Onaruto Bridge and the Naruto Whirlpools

The imposing Onaruto Bridge, which links Tokushima with Awaji Island across the Naruto Strait, is only a short trip away. Huge whirlpools form underneath the bridge, making for an amazing spectacle. They’re best viewed from an excursion boat.

INFORMATION

Location/Access 63 Fuke, Kamocho, Anan-shi, Tokushima-ken
About 28 minutes by limousine bus from Tokushima Airport to Tokushima Station → about 25 minutes by JR limited express train from Tokushima Station to Anan Station → about 40 minutes by Anan Bus (toward Kamodani, get off at “Omatsugongen-mae”)
Inquiries Omatsudaigongen Shrine
TEL 0884-25-0556
http://wwwa.pikara.ne.jp/omatudaigongen/

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