OWL Magazine Korea

Tokyo, Yanaka Ginza: The Cat Village

The area called “Yanesen” in northern Tokyo, comprising Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi, holds the essence of the city’s past while being located in its bustling center. When we think of Tokyo, we might envision a cityscape dominated by tall buildings, but Yanaka stands somewhat apart from such scenes.

Yanaka is known for its streets lined with old wooden buildings, providing a glimpse of Tokyo’s bygone era. Despite being within the city, it exudes a less urbanized atmosphere. In Yanaka Ginza, you can discover what is often referred to as the “Cat Village.”

“Ginza, Denoting a Busy Place”

To explore the Yanesen area, a common starting point is to use Nippori Station. Walking along the streets from Nippori Station, you’ll soon arrive at Yanaka, the first destination in your journey. While there is another area in Tokyo called “Ginza” known for its luxurious high-rise buildings, this Yanaka Ginza refers to the liveliest street in Yanaka, signifying the most bustling area in the neighborhood.

“Yanaka Ginza: Famous for Its Cat Village”

Yanaka is renowned for being a traditional working-class district on the outskirts of Tokyo, offering a glimpse into the simple lives of the Japanese. Yanaka Ginza, in particular, is well-known as a Cat Village. As a result, various cat-related products can be found throughout the village, and, supposedly, cats freely roam the streets. Unfortunately, during my visit, I didn’t spot any cats, perhaps due to the slightly gloomy weather on that particular day.

“Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street”

The heart of Yanaka Ginza is the “Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street,” featuring around 70 small shops each with its distinct personality. Wandering through this street, lined with these unique stores, you’ll undoubtedly feel the charm of being in a tourist destination.

The journey down this shopping street begins with a staircase named “Yuikake Dandan.” As a village famous for its cats, you’ll find various stores selling cat-themed products, including a shop creating stamps using cat illustrations, a store selling doughnuts shaped like cat tails, and a general store filled with cat dolls. For cat enthusiasts, Yanaka Ginza is a must-visit destination in Tokyo.

“Japan Tokyo, Yanaka Ginza”

  • Address: 3 Chome-13-1 Yanaka, Taitō, Tōkyō-to 110-0001, Japan
  • Website: Yanaka Ginza