Japan has long been known for its unique culture. Almost 30 million tourists visit the Asian Pacific country each year and it’s pretty clear why. From its ancient Shinto shrines to its world-renowned cuisine (this is the country that invented gyoza and sushi, people), there are dozens of reasons to visit Japan and explore its three major cities: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.
The Japanese are also known for their love of all things bizarre and eclectic, as can be seen through Tokyo’s quirky anime cafes and infamous Harajuku fashion. And now, cat lovers everywhere have reason to celebrate, because apparently there is a shrine in Kyoto that’s entirely devoted to cats – appropriately called the Meow Meow Shrine or Nyan Nyan Ji in Japanese.
Cat worshippers will be delighted to meet the shine’s staff, which includes a cat monk and six little catto assistants. The current head monk is a feline named Koyuki, who is currently the shrine’s most popular catto thanks to his adorably grumpy face.
The shrine was founded by Toru Kaya, a painter of shrines and temples, and the original cat devotee. Visitors can browse leisurely through the plethora of statues and drawings depicting various furry felines. For those who aren’t fans of art, the shrine’s restaurant offers cat-themed food and drink, and you’re invited to explore the temple gift shop afterward.
Whether you’re a fan of cats, or just want to sip coffee while having a uniquely Japanese experience, the Meow Meow Shrine should definitely be on your bucket list.