Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Japan Road Trip: Cat Station & Nitama

Ever since I found out about Tama the cat and her station master ways, I've wanted to visit Kishi station in Wakayama. Tama the cat sadly passed away in 2015 but her successor Nitama (ni meaning two in Japanese) has filled her shoes (or hat in this case).

The day started off kind of tragic when we arrived at the wrong station to be able to catch the cat themed train to the cat themed station. Kishi station exists in a rural town and features on the Kishigawa line, operated by the Wakyama electric railway. Before stray cat Tama was adopted by the station, the railway was in trouble of closing down. A train station uplift (with cute cat ears!), a stationmaster cat position and three themed trains (cat, toy and strawberry) saved the line and bought in a steady stream of tourists. There is no parking at Kishi station in order to encourage people to use the line to go visit Nitama and the museum and gift shop. We had every intention of doing that but for some reason our GPS lead us to the wrong station and because the trains only run at certain times and we needed to keep traveling to make it back to Tokyo, we had to skip the train journey and instead drive directly to Kishi and park in the back streets *sad face*.

Seeing Nitama and the cat themed station bought the happiness back and we even randomly got to see the departure station (the one we were meant to be at in the morning) on our drive out of Wakayama! So even though I didn't get to go on the cat themed train (the pictures inside look amazing) I did get to take some photos of the outside of the cat, toy and strawberry train :) We also met some lovely German travelers who run a cat blog - katzenworld who updated me on all the little details I missed out on in the train ride. Live vicariously right? We chatted all things cats and Japan with them for ages and it was lovely :)

I think this blog post might have the most amount of photos from the whole trip but I make absolutely no apologies for that :p

Kishi Tama Station




The station, as you exit off the train, is divided into two sections, to the left being the museum and cafe and to the right the gift store. Museum might be a bit of a stretch but they do have Tama's old spot and her hats and medals along with some photos and artworks. The museum also has a few souvenirs to buy but if you visit, wait till you check out the actual shop (which lives on the right hand side) before purchasing because that side has a lot more souvenirs!

When we arrived the station was fairly quiet and Nitama was asleep on her bed. The German travelers pointed out the use of a heat pad to entice Nitama into the spot - very clever!

Tama's old hat, apparently Nitama isn't as excited by the hat wearing prospect, luckily it's only inflicted on official occasions.

We hadn't been there too long when the cat train pulled up to the station and a mass of people poured out all eager to take Nitama's photo.







Apparently Kishi station is the only station in the world with a thatched roof!






Some props you could try on to be a station master yourself (which I loved) and behind me, a table with a bunch of stamps!

Tama Stamps
gotta catch 'em all!


I could have spent way too much money at the gift shop! They had a nice mix of Tama and Nitama goodies (Nitama has the slightly shaggier drawing to reflect her coat!)




A photo of cutie pie tama



The tiny cafe on the museum side














I got all excited for a split second because she looked at me - she was pretty good at ignoring everyone :p Also I was a little worried about seeing Nitama and her treatment but she's only there for certain times and days - make sure you work out this in advance! And she has little hidey holes she can escape to and use her litter tray if she doesn't want all the attention -  the heat pad is a good incentive to come back out though, huh?










The cat train we spied! It was sitting in the yard awaiting its afternoon shift :)

The red toy train 


The strawberry train





And my little loot, I was severely tempted by a book but I knew we had limited luggage space! Ben also surprised me with those stamps to cheer me up from my failed train woes - completely unexpected and it definitely worked - thanks Ben :)

At the end of my Japan blogging I'll do a post on all the other little goodies I picked up!

4 comments:

  1. I was very sad to hear of Tama's passing, but Nitama is pretty cute too. And I don't blame you for taking ALL OF THE PICTURES! I would have bought out that gift shop. ;)

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    1. Nitama is a super cutie :) The gift shop was so awesome, I do have mild regret about not getting the book but it may of been the straw that broke the suitcases back :P

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  2. Oh my gosh... Tama and Nitama <3<3<3
    I can't get enough of the station master hat!!

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