I love socks. Not your boring old gym socks and stockings, though. I like ’em bright and patterned, the more obnoxiously the better. If it doesn’t look like something a child should be wearing, I’ll pass.

Two other things I love are Japan and cats, so you’ll understand why my squees of delight filled the aisles of popular bargain chain 3 Coins when I spotted this huge rack of cat socks with designs inspired by each of Japan’s 42 prefectures and regions. 

Every item at 3 Coins costs just 300 yen (US$2.43), so it’s a great place to pick up daily necessities and decorating tchotchkes if you live in Japan or souvenirs for people back home if you are visiting. Particularly now that they have these amazing cat socks!

▼ Not those kind of cat socks.


The designs are based on a famous food, product or story from each region, plus a cat. Because cats.

Let’s take look!

▼ Hokkaido, Aomori and Iwate


Here we have some regions from northern Japan. From left to right, a kitty cuddles with some of Hokkaido’s delicious salmon, another bats down Aomori’s famous apples, while a very fluffy cat tries to catch the Japanese swamp monster known as kappa. Tono, Iwate, is the folklore capital of Japan and many kappa are said to inhabit the ponds around Jokenji Temple there. You can even get an official kappa hunting license from the city hall!

▼Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima


Farther south, there’s a cat from Akita dressed as a namahage, a demon from Japanese folklore. In parts of Akita, there is a New Year Festival where men dressed as namahage go door-to-door to scare naughty children straight. What fun! A caterpillery looking cat munches on Yamagata’s famous cherries. And Fukushima’s cat is disguised as an akabeko red cow, a bobble-headed craft from the Aizu region that supposedly wards off illness.

▼ Niigata, Toyama and Ishikawa


Along the Sea of Japan, we have Niigata, where a cat is harvesting the prefecture’s superior rice, Toyama, where a cat is attending the Tonami Tulip Fair and showing off its butt, and Ishikawa, where their famous gold leaf is making a lovely manekineko beckoning cat gleam. Kanazawa, Ishikawa, has been making gold leaf since the 16th century and still produces 99 percent of the gold leaf used in Japan.

▼ Kanagawa and Chiba


Closer to the capital, Yokohama’s Chinatown is the draw for Kanagawa’s cat, while Chiba’s sleeps inside the prefecture’s tasty peanuts.

▼ Yamanashi, Nagano and Gifu


In central Japan, cats are enjoying Yamanashi’s grapes (and the wine made from them, by the looks of it), Nagano’s shimeji mushrooms, and Gifu’s traditional paper umbrellas. The umbrellas are made using local paper and bamboo with lacquer and sesame oil for waterproofing. It takes several months to make just one umbrella!

▼ Shiga, Kyoto and Osaka


In Kansai, a cat is making friends with a tanuki raccoon in Shiga. Shigaraki, Shiga, is a famous pottery town, where many of those big-balled tanuki statues we know and love are made. Geisha Cat represents Kyoto, naturally, while in Osaka, we the famous Kuidaore Taro drummer from the Dotonbori area surrounded by giant takoyaki balls.

▼ Tottori, Shimane and Okayama


Moving south again, we’ve got Tottori’s delicious Asian pears and Shimane’s miso soup made with shijimi clams. Naturally, the cat seems more excited by the seafood than the fruit. In Okayama, the cat is dressed as Momotaro, a character from a Japanese folktale who is born out of a giant peach.

▼ Yamaguchi, Tokushima and Kagawa


In Yamaguchi, a brave cat swims with the region’s famous blowfish. In Shikoku, Tokushima’s melons are big enough to crush a puss and Kagawa’s delicious sanuki udon brings all the cats to the yard.

▼ Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Oita


In Kyushu, a lucky cat is eating its way through a giant castella cake from Nagasaki. As a port town, Nagasaki’s cuisine has long been influenced by other countries, and this sweet cake was brought in Portuguese merchants centuries back. Kumamoto’s watermelon is making another cat super strong, apparently. And in Oita, a Siamese blends into a background of shiitake mushrooms.

Whether you want to use them to keep your feet warm or to plan your next holiday in Japan, you’ve got to admit these cat socks are pretty irresistible. We’ve featured a selection from across Japan here, but if we’ve missed your favorite part of the country, you can see the full collection on the store website.

Cat image: Snoopy the Cat
Other images and content © RocketNews24