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Destinations for Cat Lovers in Japan

Fun feline-related spots across the country

Fan of all things feline? Japan has quite an affinity for cats, too, and there are numerous places across the country where you can appreciate these beautiful creatures. There are cat temples, Hello Kitty inspired theme parks, cat-themed train stations, and plenty more. This guide covers some destinations for cat lovers to enjoy across Japan.

Gotokuji Temple, Tokyo

Located in Tokyo's Setagaya ward, Gotokuji Temple is unique because of the wildly impressive number of maneki neko, or beckoning cat statues, dotted around its grounds. Even the ema (wooden plaques used for writing prayers or wishes on) are cat-themed here. Whether you're a feline fan or you just want a bit of quirkiness added to your next temple visit, be sure to stop by Gotokuji.

2 Chome-24-7 Gotokuji, Setagaya City, Tokyo 154-0021

Sanrio Puroland, Tokyo

It wouldn't be a cat-related list without featuring one of Japan's most iconic ones – Hello Kitty. Sanrio Puroland is a theme park located in Tokyo's Tama region, and it's a destination packed full of the much-loved character. There are Hello Kitty character meet and greets, Hello Kitty themed rides, merchandise for sale, and more. The on-site restaurants even have meals designed to look like Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters.

1 Chome-31 Ochiai, Tama, Tokyo 206-8588

Kishi Station, Wakayama

Known as one of Japan's cat stations, Wakayama's Kishi Station was home to the feline station master Tama until her passing in 2015. The station building itself was remodeled in 2010 to resemble a cat's face, as well. Since Tama's passing, the station master role has been passed on to a successor named Nitama.

Kishigawacho Kodo, Kinokawa, Wakayama 640-0413

Harmonyland, Oita

Another theme park dedicated to all things Sanrio is Oita's Harmonyland, which is an enjoyable spot for the young and the young-at-heart. There are live shows that take place daily, plenty of rides, and opportunities to have photos with your favorite Sanrio characters. If you want a great view out over the surrounding landscape, try the Ferris wheel - you may even be lucky enough to hop into a Hello Kitty carriage!

5933 Fujiwara, Hiji, Hayami District, Oita 879-1598

Tashirojima, Miyagi

With a feline population of over 100, Tashirojima is also known as Miyagi's cat island. The island is accessible via ferry, and there are some accommodation options there if you want to stay for longer than just a day trip. While you're there, the Kuronekodō Cafe serves up an adorable curry with rice shaped like a cat's face, and there's even the cat-themed Miyori Shrine.

Cats of Tashirojima
Cats of Tashirojima (Photo: annintofu / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Cat Museum, Shizuoka

Located in Ito, Shizuoka, The Cat Museum includes information and displays about all kinds of felines – big and small. There are exhibits about lions, leopards, cheetahs, and tigers, plus sections dedicated to cat toys and artworks from around the globe. If regular domestic housecats are more your preference, never fear – they've got an area where you can interact with them, too, similar to what you'd expect at a cat cafe.

1759-242 Yawatano, Itō, Shizuoka 413-0235

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Elizabeth S a year ago
I love the new Kishi Station! That train line has cat-themed trains, too!
Elizabeth S a year ago
The cedar shakes for the roof are a nice nod to traditional construction, too!
Kim Author a year ago
Appreciate the kindness! Thank you!
Peter Oxley a year ago
One of the reasons that cats at temples became popular is that they were put on board ships that brought Buddhist scriptures to Japan from China many hundreds of years ago. Our feline friends protected the scriptures from being eaten by rats during the long sea journey.
Kim Author a year ago
That makes perfect sense! Thank you for sharing the backstory with me, I never knew that!
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