The operators of the billboard also spill the beans on what’s next for the hyper-realistic display.

Early last month, Tokyo’s busy Shinjuku district was blessed with a giant, moving calico cat. Measuring roughly 10 metres (32.8 feet) in length, the cat sits atop the newly opened Cross Shinjuku building, occupying the top three floors overlooking a busy crossing outside the east exit of Shinjuku Station. 

The cat walks, meows, yawns, and flicks its tail during appearances at various times of the day, and people have been gathering outside the building in the hopes of seeing it, quickly snapping photos and videos when it appears to share its hyper-realistic beauty online.

However, with temperatures soaring right now, nobody wants to be stuck by the bitumen waiting for the cat to randomly appear in between ads, so we decided to contact the cat’s creators for details on the best time to see — and photograph — the famous feline.

▼ 4K image quality and a curved display screen give the cat its heightened sense of realism.

According to Tokyo-based Yunika Corp., who operates the billboard, the cat appears in three different formats throughout the day. There’s the “Good Morning” cat, which appears on the hour every hour, the “Talking” cat, which appears 25 times every hour, and the “Good Night” cat, which appears in the half hour period before the screen shuts down at 8 p.m. (these times are correct as of 3 August 2021, and reflect shortened business hours due to the current state of emergency).

While the cat appears most regularly throughout the daylight hours, when it can be seen walking, meowing and looking down at the crowds, it’s not actually the best time to catch sight of the cat.

That’s because the screen ends up looking wavy in photographs, which distorts the true beauty of the feline.

▼ Nobody wants to wait around in the heat only to end up with a photo that looks like this.

Those who know how to use their camera settings might be able to snap a better photo than others during the day, but it still requires standing at a certain diagonal angle to get the best shot. That might involve a bit of waiting around until you get the right position sorted out, so the best time to photograph the cat in all its splendour is after the sun goes down.

▼ The “Good Night” cat looks gorgeous when filmed by a total amateur with a regular smartphone, without any fancy filters or corrections.

There’s something so soothing about seeing the cat looking so snug and sleepy above Shinjuku that we actually prefer it to its prowling daytime appearances. And right now, the yawning night-time cat is being screened earlier than usual due to the pandemic, instead of its usual midnight screening time, making it even more convenient for those wanting to see it.

According to Yunika, the giant cat is just the start of the amazing new 3-D displays coming to Cross Vision. They say the next edition of hyper-realistic images will be based around the theme of “weightlessness“, and when we asked them if this meant we might be seeing a zero-gravity cat in future, they cryptically replied: “Yes, it’ll be that sort of thing.

We cant wait to find out what giant images are in store for us in the future, so we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Cross Vision’s official Twitter account for updates. And for more on Tokyo’s love of cats, don’t forget to check out these two train stations, which pay homage to the feline with gorgeous hidden design details!

Cross Shinjuku Vision / クロス新宿ビジョン
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-23-18
Screening: Periodically from 7:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. (sound is turned off at 11:00 p.m.)

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