5 Tips for Cat Lovers Exploring Japan

5 Tips for Cat Lovers Exploring Japan

Meowtel newsletter subscribers were asked in our Question of the Week, What is your dream travel destination in 2024?. The answer was overwhelmingly Japan! Our co-founder and Chief Technology Cat, Bruno, recently traveled to Japan so we asked him for 5 activities fellow cat lovers must do in Japan to create a purrfect itinerary for your trip!

Meowtel Must-Sees in Tokyo and Beyond!


Do not miss Yanaka Ginza Street. This charming shopping street in the old district of Yanaka is known for its stray cats. The area is affectionately known as “Yanaka Cat Town,” and you'll find many cat-themed shops and cafés here. Go to "Cafe Neko-e-mon" to paint your own Lucky Cat!


Visit Gotokuji Temple, the Birthplace of Maneki-neko.

This temple in Setagaya is known as the origin of the Maneki-neko, the famous beckoning cat figurine believed to bring good luck. The temple features countless Maneki-neko statues and is a serene place to explore. It's a must-visit for anyone interested in Japanese folklore and feline symbolism.

Wandering & Losing Yourself in Nature

Stroll Through Ueno Park in the district of Taitō, Tokyo, Japan. This is a large public park that offers a respite from the city's hustle and bustle. The park is especially beautiful during the cherry blossom season, late March-April.


Tokyo offers a wide array of dining experiences. Make sure to try out some local izakayas (Japanese pubs) for a casual and authentic experience. I'd recommend a hidden gem: "Fuku Sushi" in the Koto City neighborhood, owned by a husband and wife and absolutely delicious.

Early Eating

Sometimes waking up at 3am is worth it! Head to Toyosu Market, one of the most iconic experiences in Tokyo. You will be able to attend the Fish Auction Market, and then to enjoy the freshest sushi possible for breakfast! 

The most well-known and highly regarded sushi restaurant at the market is "Sushi Dai".

The line starts around 3am-4am but this establishment has earned a reputation for serving exceptionally fresh and high-quality sushi, often prepared with seafood sourced directly from the market. It's a favorite among both locals and tourists for its authentic Edomae-style sushi (a traditional style of sushi from the Tokyo area).

Why Are Cats So Popular in Japan?

Cats have left a lasting mark on Japan's cultural landscape, symbolizing everything from luck and prosperity to companionship and artistic inspiration. Their presence in Japanese history reflects the deep admiration and affection that the Japanese people have for our favorite creatures. Here are just some of the ways cats have left their mark on Japanese culture and beyond:

  • Spiritual and Folklore Significance: Cats feature prominently in Japanese folklore and mythology. The "Maneki-neko" or beckoning cat, with its raised paw, is a popular talisman believed to bring good luck and fortune. Cats are also associated with supernatural beings such as the "bakeneko" or "nekomata," mythical creatures with shape-shifting abilities.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Cats are aesthetically pleasing animals, known for their graceful movements and adorable appearances. This appeal is often reflected in Japanese art, literature, and design, contributing to their popularity. Japan has played a significant role in popularizing cat-related content on the internet. From viral cat videos to adorable cat memes, Japanese internet culture has embraced feline companions, further increasing their popularity. Cats are prevalent in Japanese pop culture, appearing in anime, manga, and video games. Iconic characters like Hello Kitty and Doraemon have become beloved symbols both within Japan and internationally, further cementing the cat's popularity in Japanese society. Did you know that Hello Kitty is not a cat, but a girl dressed as a cat?!
  • Cat Cafés: Japan is known for its abundance of cat cafés, where people can enjoy a cup of coffee while interacting with resident cats. These cafés provide a relaxing environment for cat lovers and offer therapeutic benefits, contributing to the country's fascination with cats. We definitely would love to visit the Temari no Ouchi cat café located in Tokyo. The Temari No Ouchi cat café has forest-like decor, with built-in trees and huts to give it a fairy garden like theme. Sounds pretty cozy to us!

5. Whisker-Worthy Adventures

Did you know that Sanrio is the company behind Hello Kitty? You can visit their theme park to meet your favorite characters, enjoy cute treats, and have a day of fun! Here are five other cat-centric stops to add to your trip itinerary in Japan:

When you are on the trip of a lifetime your cat will be safe at home lovingly cared for by a Meowtel sitter. Our experienced and insured pet sitters undergo thorough background checks and will send you pics and updates daily to keep you informed and rest assured while away. Book a professional cat sitter with Meowtel. 

Categories: How To/DIY