Tokyo: All Things Cat October 07 2015
Like the internet, Japan loves cats. From cat cafes to cat themed clothing boutiques to cat marshmallows, cats are everywhere. Apparently, most landlords in Tokyo prohibit renters from having cats and dogs, and as a result, cat cafes became a popular outlet for those who want to de-stress with a furry feline friend.
The first time I went to Japan, I visited two cat cafes: Hapineko (Shibuya) and Calico (Shinjuku). Overall, I liked Calico better because they had more cats, the base price was cheaper, and the space was much bigger (two floors of cats!). They also had interesting breeds and gave me a free drink ticket for when I come back. Also, I didn't like that Hapineko had a higher price for foreigners. Both cat cafes had mostly aloof cats that were only friendly when you had food in your hand. They weren't playful at all, which may be due to them being stuck at the cafe until God knows when. Which brings me to a rare form of cat cafes: the ones where the cats are rescues and are adoptable. During my second trip to Japan, I discovered a small cat cafe in Nakano called Neko no Kanzume. Unlike most cat cafes, they had playful kittens which I loved. The cats are rescues so some of them looked a little banged up, but I like that the cafe is trying to find homes for loving cats who may be overlooked because of an injury.
Cat Themed Treats
Yawahada Marshmallow Shop (note that they have more items on their Japanese site) has the best and most clever treat EVER! The cat marshmallow. Unfortunately, they are strictly ecommerce (no store front) and you must go through an expensive package forwarding service for international shipping. Essentially, you will pay twice for shipping: Yawahada will charge you to ship to the forwarding service in Japan and the forwarding service will charge you for international shipping. Anyway, I bought a bunch of their cat marshmallows and picked them up via the Poste Restante hold service at the post office. I was staying at an AirBnB apartment with no doorman and didn't want to spend my vacation waiting for a package, so I instructed Yawahada to ship to the local post office for pickup. I also found some cat cookies that cleverly hang from your coffee mug at the Kit Kat store located at the First Avenue Shops in Tokyo Station. So Cute!
Cat Themed Shops
I stumbled upon a few shops that exclusively sell things with cats on it. Hikosen Cara is a little expensive but they have some cute clothes and accessories. I bought a cat scroll set up at Kamawanu shop in Harajuku. I just couldn't resist because the cat depicted on the cloth (Tenugui) reminds me of my precious Allie.
Japan loves cats. From cat cafes, billboards, home decor, and Hello Kitty!, you can't get away from them. Which for me is awesome! They even have a cat who is a train station master. I vote to have feline station masters at NYC transit stops. It would make my commute more pleasant.