Cat Cafe

Neko no Jikan – “Cat time” Cafe in Osaka

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Website: http://www.nekonojikan.com/amemura/link.htm

Location (click for map): In Amerikamura, close to Shinsaibashi, Yotsubashi, and Namba stations

 

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Cat Cafe in Kyoto (Wan Nyan Chu)

While wandering through the streets of Kyoto’s Nakagyo Ward  we came across the  “Wan Nyan Chu” Cat Cafe. Although I am a self-professed dog-person, I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend time with some cuddly friends. 

Cat Cafe in Kyoto, Japan.

Cat Cafe in Kyoto, Japan.

Cat Cafes are quite popular in Japan, and for a fee visitors can spend time with these furry felines and are served drinks. 1000 yen bought us a cold drink (I believe mine was peach juice?) and half an hour of play time.  From this visit, I would consider the term “Cat Cafe” to be a bit of a misnomer. I had envisioned myself seated at a table, with cats purring next to me and cuddling between my leisurely sips of coffee. In actuality, this Cat Cafe felt more like play time with the drinks (although enjoyable) being largely insignificant. 

 

The “Cat” area of the cafe was a comfy room with rugs, benches, climbing trees and dozens of toys. Cats roamed around, slept in nooks and in typical cat fashion seemed relatively unimpressed by the strangers in the room. On the day that we came, a new kitten was being introduced to the group, eliciting great curiosity (and perhaps wariness) from the others. 

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I felt a great sense of comfort from my brief hangout at the Cat Cafe, I hadn’t realized how much I miss having a pet. Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of cats, I definitely recommend a visit to a Cat Cafe, if only for the unique experience and some heart-warming cuddles. 

 

Incidentally enough, cats were a prominent theme during my first day in Kyoto:

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Lucky Cats

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A wild cat at Fushimin Inari

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And, of course.. Cat donuts (Fun fact: the ears are made of almonds)

Cafe Information

Cafe Website: http://balu.jp/list.html

Cats, Temples, and Geishas: KYOTO in a Nutshell

KYOTO: my first trip there and I’ve fallen in love. Japan’s old capital validated my high levels of anticipation, making a return trip the top of my travel to-do list. Two and a half (very) short days were crammed full of sight see-ing and (of course) food, more than I can fit into one post. I’ll be breaking Kyoto down into smaller stories, but first here it is: Kyoto in a nutshell.

Day one: An embarrassingly indulgent breakfast of pancakes and coffee and roaming around Kyoto station and its many levels of shopping. Kyoto station was a stunning example of functional but beautiful design. Large expanses of criss-crossing metal beams form walls- yet never enclose to form a building, allowing light and air to stream through.

Nishiki Market: It was easy to get disoriented in the bustling roads of shopping for everything from fish to wigs.

It was here that I also visited a temple to receive a fortune, after a few technical difficulties. Like most temples, a few hundred yen can be exchanged for a “fortune”, which you can take as lightly or as seriously as it suits you. I found a somewhat kitschy machine with an automated dragon(?) who fetched fortunes within an enclosed case.

It was here that I also ate a cat donut (adorable) burnt ramen (yes, burnt) and visited my first Cat Cafe.

The day culminated with a sensory overload at the Fushimi Inari Shrine. A series of hundreds of orange “Torii” gates leads up a mountain, called the Senbon Torii. We hit it just as the sun was going down, making the climb down treacherous but worth the view of the glowing orange shrines.

Day Two: Maiko Dress-Up in the Gion District, something I’ve been dreaming of doing and finally had the opportunity!

Kinkaku-ji, a stunning, golden temple which in the perfect weather absolutely glowed in against the blue sky and water.

This was followed by a return trip to the Gion District to explore the bustling nightlife and souvenir shops. In contrast to my other experiences in cities, Kyoto was surprisingly lively past 8 pm. Tokyo’s nightlife felt more hectic, and chaotic, especially in the Shibuya area. Kyoto, on the other hand was alive with excitement and yet entirely comfortable, like a spirited reunion with old friends.

Day Three: after a hasty breakfast and bus ride we spent an ethereal hour at Ginkaku-Ji, Kyoto’s silver temple (aka… the not so silver temple).