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Takashima: Lottery Island With An Auspicious Shrine & Island Cats To Up Your Odds Of Winning

Lottery island Takashima

From exploring seasonal bests on washtub boats to an exciting art paradise, remote islands across Japan offer a weekend getaway like no other. Takashima, however, has travellers making a trip there for a very specific purpose – to boost their luck in hopes of striking the lottery. 

Pray for financial luck at Hōtō Shrine 

Takashima - hoto shrineImage credit: @miyu_oterasanpo

Just a short boat ride from Karatsu City is Takashima (高島), an island known to be a lucky spot for winning the lottery and improving one’s financial luck. In particular, visitors make it a point to drop by Hōtō Shrine (宝当神社), a lucky spot believed to be effective in helping shrine goers hit the jackpot. 

Takashima - hoto shrine
Image credit: Karatsu Tourism Association

Its popularity is attributed to its name, Hōtō (宝当), which can be interpreted as “宝くじに当たる” (takarakuji ni ataru; to strike the lottery). Thanks to its auspicious sounding name, the shrine welcomes 200,000 worshippers from all over the country annually. 

Takashima - hoto shrineImage credit: @4seasonscamera

At a corner within the shrine compound, you’ll find thank you messages from visitors who have struck the jackpot after their visit – a testament to the prowess of the blessed spot. 

Lottery store on the island with a lucky cat 

Takashima - nozaki liquor storeImage credit: @dolphin_okamura

Just a stone’s throw away from the shrine stands Nozaki Liquor Store (野崎酒店), a run-of-the-mill shop that looks ordinary at first glance. However, Nozaki Liquor Store is home to a praying cat that has blessed many with winning lottery tickets. 

Takashima - fuku chanImage credit: @126axlbuzz

It is said that in 2013, a couple from Fukuoka prayed at Hōtō Shrine, then proceeded to purchase a yellow fortune bag and patted Fuku-chan, the store’s cat. Like a story straight out of a fairy tale, the couple was blessed with an unexpected windfall of ¥4,000,000,000 (~USD27,202,400), thanks to a winning lottery ticket. 

Takashima - fuku chanImage credit: @126axlbuzz

After the miracle story was shared on magazines and television, eager travellers flock to pay this special cat a visit. It is said that petting the lucky cat will increase your chances of winning the lottery.

Takashima - fuku chan
Image credit:
PayPay Flea Market

For an even greater boost of luck, purchase a special yellow fortune pouch (¥2,500, ~USD1.77) that’s embroidered with a maneki neko (招き猫; beckoning cat). Simply put your lottery ticket inside the bag, and show it to Fuku-chan. Fuku-chan will then stand upright on her hind legs, put her furry paws together, and pray earnestly for your good fortune.

How to get to Takashima

Takashima - drone shot of islandImage credit: Saga Prefecture

Takashima is best accessed from Karatsu City, where a short 10-minute boat ride takes visitors straight to Takashima Port. To get to the departure point, hop on a taxi at JR Karatsu Station and head to Hōtō Sanbashi (宝当桟橋). Cross the bridge and the departure point is located on the left side. 

The boat departs 5 times daily, and a one-way trip costs ¥220 (~USD1.49) for adults and ¥110 (~USD0.75) for children. For the schedule and pictorial directions, check out Hōtō Shrine’s official website.

Hōtō Shrine
Address: 523 Takashima, Karatsu, 847-0027 Saga
Opening hours: 24 Hours, Daily
Contact: 0955-74-3715 | Hōtō Shrine website

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Cover image adapted from (clockwise from left): @miyu_oterasanpo, PayPay Flea Market, @126axlbuzz