Cats
Japan has a cat shrine with the cutest monks — caught in photographs
If you’re planning a trip to Kyoto, make sure you stop by!
Cedric Jackson
10.22.19

If you’re a cat lover, you might want to put Japan on your travel list — for more reasons than one. The Japanese are known for their love of cats. But that’s never been so apparent as it is with the cat shrine that’s entirely dedicated to cats. It even includes feline “monks.”

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Instagram/nekojizo

Nyan Nyan Ji, which translates as Meow Meow Shrine, is located in Kyoto.

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There, visitors can view sites of homage to cats. They can also meet Koyuki, the head monk. Koyuki reportedly loves living at the shrine and interacting with the people who come to meet her.

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Instagram/nekojizo
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Koyuki greets visitors who arrive at the shrine. They can interact with her before getting some cat-themed food at the cafe.

Trip Advisor
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Trip Advisor
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Nyan Nyan Ji was created by painter Toru Kaya.

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Instagram/nekojizo

While well known for his paintings in temples and shrines, he wanted to dedicate a shrine specifically to his own cat. So, he used his talents to create a place that would be unforgettable.

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Instagram/nosmama

“This temple was opened by painter Toru Kaya with the theme of this favorite cat,” said the owner of Koyuki. “Visitors who come to worship play with cats and enjoy cafes and cat art.”

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Trip Advisor

The shrine is full of art depicting cats, including paintings, carvings, and more.

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Instagram/nekojizo
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Instagram/nekojizo

There are many statues in every style. Additionally, if visitors want to take souvenirs home, they can visit the gift shop for more cat-themed art.

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Trip Advisor
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Instagram/nekojizo

Koyuki is the head monk, but she’s not the only one. The shrine currently has seven feline “monks” that have the run of the place. They are carefully cared for and enjoy games and cuddles with the many visitors that pass through the doors.

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The shrine currently has four female cats, Koyuki, Ren, Konatsu, and Chicchi, and three male cats, Chin, Waka, and Aruji.

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Although Koyuki is the top dog (well, top cat) at the shrine these days, she’s not the first generation of felines to live there. In fact, there have already been three generations. The shrine only opened in 2016, prompting people to ask about the quick turnover. But for the most part, the cats seem happy and healthy.

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Unsurprisingly, tourists and visitors alike love the shrine and its feline residents.

“Cats are amazing creatures and I just love how they are revered in different parts of the world,” said one online commenter. “I would love to have a sit down with the cat monk or even one of the assistants.

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Instagram/nekojizo
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Instagram/nekojizo

People also love that head monk Koyuki has a perpetually grumpy expression.

She might not be the next Grumpy Cat, but she still has an attitude!

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Trip Advisor
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Instagram/nekojizo

Unfortunately, most of us won’t be heading to Kyoto any time soon. But if you find yourself in Japan, make sure you schedule a time during your trip to Kyoto to visit the shrine. After all, who wouldn’t want to see beautiful art and eat fun food while snuggling with a bunch of furry animals?

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By Cedric Jackson
hi@sbly.com
Cedric Jackson is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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