If YouTube videos are any indication, the world is generally fascinated by cats. But in typical fashion, Japan takes that fascination a step (or three) further. Japanese netizens love kitties, and the internet is flooded with cute photos and the latest cat-based trends. While many readers may be familiar with a few of Japan’s cat-related exports like Sanrio’s popular Hello Kitty, how about the latest Purrito trend where kitties are wrapped in various items making them resemble an adorable fluffy burrito? No?
Japanese cats pretty much rule the roost (just as they do every other place in the world) and maybe it is this confidence that makes the Japanese adore kitties the way they do. After all, where else would a kitty have her own train station? (In Wakayama, Japan of course!) In fact, Nitama is the latest kitty to be dubbed Stationmaster, and she is so popular that she increased the city’s revenue by $8.5 million in 2015 alone! (I mean, she did graduate Cat Stationmaster Training School after all!)
If you still can’t get enough cats, there are several nekojima, or “cat islands”, in Japan that are almost entirely inhabited by cats. Islands like Enoshima were once home to many people too, but as the fishing industry or local trade died down, people left, and the feline resident population increased. Luckily, the cat islands are big draws for tourists, and the kitties don’t seem to mind the visitors (or handouts!).
So if you’re one of the millions of people fascinated by cats like I am, Japan is a great place to lavish them with the adoring praise they demand – I mean, deserve.
Want to see more about cats? Check out Japan’s Animal Cafes: Where Cats and Coffee Come Together