Kishi Station – Kinokawa, Japan - Atlas Obscura

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Kishi Station

Kinokawa, Japan

A calico cat named Tama was the wildly popular Super Station Master at this train stop in southeast Japan. 


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 passed away, and 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.

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