February 22, 2021
It’s 22nd February which means it’s the annual Cat Day in Japan. To celebrate let’s look at some of the country’s best cat-focussed destinations.
Known as Nyan Nyan Nyan Day because the number 2 in Japanese is “ni” and putting it as a date “ni ni ni” when spoken sounds very similar to “nyan” or “meow.”
With so much in Japan that is cat-themed from cat cafes to cat islands and everything in between there are heaps of things that honours our feline friends – here are some of them.
Although cat cafes exist all over the world nowadays, Japan was where I first experienced them. I had the pleasure of visiting Nyafe Melange, which is just a short walk from the west exit of Ebisu JR station, and it has around 20 cats for you to pet and cute cat-themed gifts to purchase. It’s a clean and cosy café and the only cat cafe that allows children.
Nyankodō is a bookshop that only sells books on kitties. Located in Jimbocho’s famous used bookstore area, it has got everything you need for a purrfect read. It’s a great place to spend a Saturday in Tokyo browsing all the book devoted to our fur friends.
There are many cat temples and shrines in Japan but Gotokuji Temple is said to be the birthplace of Maneki-Neko – the lucky cat. Located in the Setagaya ward of Tokyo, the story goes that the chief priest once owned a cat back in the Edo period. One day the cat appeared to be beckoning a high ranking feudal lord who was visiting, which resulted in him moving from the spot where lightning struck thus saving the man’s life. The grounds are covered with numerous Maneki-Nekos to honour the original.
This brings us to the popular tourist attractions of Aoshima and Tashirojima. Aoshima is located in Ehime Prefecture and is known for its large number of furry residents. Cats have been reported to outnumber humans significantly and this increases each year as the elderly human population have passed away.
Tashirojima is located off the coast of Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture and has its very own cat shrine and summer cat-shaped accommodation for tourists.
Located inside Sunshine City Mall, this cat-themed amusement park in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro not only has cat mascots, cat lanterns but also a cat house of horrors as well as feline-shaped food.
Happy Japanese Cat Day!