Kishi Station in Kinokawa, Japan, was threatening closure due to low ridership in 2004. Then a lucky calico cat came along to save the rural station on the Kishigawa Line of the Wakayama Electric Railway from obscurity.
Tama, a stray calico cat, was adopted in 2007 as Kishi Station’s Super Station Master. The feline who sports a station master hat at a rakish angle has gone on to draw tens of thousands of visitors a year, keeping the train station in business for locals and reviving what was once a depressed point of the Wakayama Prefecture into a tourist boon.
In 2010, the station was renovated to be cat-shaped, and inside there’s a cat-themed café. There’s even a Tama-themed train that departs the station. In 2015, Tama was replaced by her apprentice Nitama, also a calico. As of this writing Nitama was still on the job, taking photographs with fans and sleeping soundly at her post. She can be visited in her office.