Cat lovers will find plenty to love in Tokyo. There are plenty of cat cafes, cat themed menus, merchandise and even cat streets. There is even a cat shrine decked in thousands of white good luck cats. But if you are particularly interested in shopping all the cat souvenirs while eating cat-shaped food, then you should know about these two places, both known as Cat Street Tokyo.
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Where is the Cat Street Tokyo?
First up, there are two streets in Tokyo generally referred to as Cat Street Tokyo. The first one is Shibuya Cat Street and the second one Yanaka Ginza.
To get to Cat Street Shibuya, take the metro to Meiji-jingumae (Harajuku) Station and exit to the east. Alternatively, you can get off at JR Harajuku station and walk down the street, away from Yoyogi Park, cross the road at the intersection and then turn right at the second alley and then left.
Address 1: Shibuya Cat Street, 5-10-10 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
To get to Yanaka Ginza, the actual Cat Street Tokyo, you can get off at Nippori JR station by taking the North or West Exit. Turn left and walk past Yanaka Cemetery, which is really pretty and wonderful for viewing Tokyo’s cherry blossoms in spring.
Follow the road and once it forks, keep right and you will already see the first cat-themed shop. Keep going and down the stairs, then you will have reached Yanaka Ginza. The street isn’t very long and you can easily walk it within 10 minutes. That is, if you have superhuman self control and won’t stop and stare at all the cuteness.
Address 2: Yanaka Ginza, 3 Chome-13-1 Yanaka, Taitō, Tokyo 110-0001, Japan
What is Shibuya Cat Street?
The first one is found in busy Shibuya district, close to Harajuku. In fact, if you making your way from Shibuya Crossing to Harajuku’s Takeshita Street, you can easily visit Shibuya Cat Street. Essentially, this street is filled with quirky fashion stores of the typical Harajuku scene. Expect pastel coloured tutu skirts, fun print shirts, excessive accessories and animal paws and ear stitched onto hoodies.
Shibuya Cat Street is a favourite hang out spots among the teens and hipsters of Tokyo. A good idea to get started is to pick a local café to both enjoy delicious food/coffee and people watch.
What is Yanaka Ginza?
Yanaka Ginza, on the other hand, is entirely dedicated to cats. From the first moment you step onto the street you will see everything that can possibly be decorated with cat faces for sale. This includes name stamps, magnets, aprons, towels, clothes, jewellery, pouches, figurines, etc. The list would be too extensive to list here but you get the idea.
When it comes to food, you can grab a maneki-ya, a traditional Japanese waffle in cat form (“Fuku-nyan Yaki”). You can get the default one with sweet red beans or Japanese mayonnaise and soy cream or give the pizza flavor a try. All of them are delicious. For cheap bites, get a skewer for as little as 50x and sit down with a beer in hand by the side of the street.
Can You See Actual Cats on Cat Street Tokyo?
To be honest, neither street are actual hangout places for local cats. They are way too busy! That being said, there are local stray cats gathering by the stairs of Yanaka Ginza around sunrise and sunset. And usually, you can spot around 10 plastic cats sitting patiently on the roods along the Cat Street.
Where to Stay Close to Cat Street Tokyo?
If you want to see Tokyo off the beaten path, then Cat Street Yanaka Ginza should be more your focus. Not as many tourists visit and Taito, which is where Ueno Park is located, is a great location as well. You could, for instance, go on a private guided tour around Shibuya and Harajuku and ask to have Cat Street Tokyo included.
A must-visit hotel for cat lovers is undoubtedly the Hello Kitty room at Keio Plaza Tokyo. You cannot go wrong in a room full of the cute cat and everything in pink. If you prefer a more traditional Japanese experience, try the Ryokan Katsutaro next to Ueno Park. Depending on your budget, you can choose between ensuite rooms or those with shared bathrooms and toilets.
If capsule hotels are on your bucketlist, Capsule Net Omotenashi no Oyado is one where women are allowed as well. (Most are targeted at and exclusive men.) You can get your souvenir shopping done at Ameya-Yokocho Market, which is only two minutes by foot away.
To stay close to Shibuya and Harajuku, try the The Millennials Shibuya with its funky neon light design. The perks for this hotel include free breakfast, terrace views and a business centre. Alternatively, why not get an apartment to feel like you are living in Tokyo? Try the Funkey Apartment in Shibuya 105 for starters. I love its colourful chairs and minimalist interior.
Which Cat Street Tokyo Should You Visit?
To be frank, both. I personally prefer Yanaka Ginza because of the cute cat merch I love looking at and the yummy cat pancake. I try to keep my shopping to a minimum as I travel light and have to resist temptation. But both are definitely worth a visit due to their lively vibe and colourful shops. They are easy to get to and you can include them in any tour around Tokyo.
Tell me: Would you want to visit either Cat Street Tokyo or is one your favourite?
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