If Studio Ghibli ever created a cat cafe, this is what it would be like.

In Japan, 22 February is Cat Day, an annual celebration of all things feline. For our Japanese-language reporter Mariko Ohanabatake, the day called for a visit to a cat cafe in Tokyo that’s more than just a cafe, it’s an entire village run by cats — yes, cats — and it’s called Kichijouji Petit Mura (“Kichijouji Petit Village”).

▼ Despite being located in the Tokyo neighbourhood of “Kichijoji”, the village stylises it as “Kichijouji” in its name.

▼ The fairy tale cat paradise is located a short seven-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

As soon as Mariko set eyes on the village, she let out a little squeal of delight, because the fantastical setting looked like it had jumped straight out of a Ghibli anime!

Stepping through the arched entrance made her feel as if she was leaving all her troubles behind and entering a magical world.

According to its creators, this little village is home to a cat cafe, a shop, a gallery, and several eateries, which have been brought together under the concept of “a quirky castle made by cats“.

Mariko’s first stop during her visit was to “Temari no Oshiro” (“Temari’s Castle“), the cat cafe located towards the back of the site.

As she walked by the castle turret and a serene water feature, she could imagine the little cats constructing everything here, with hard hats on and little gloves to protect their paws as they paved the pathways and painted the walls and doors.

Beside the water feature was a beautiful blue door, which Mariko pushed open to reveal…the castle of the felines!

Temari, the Queen of the Castle, was uninterested at the time of Mariko’s visit, so instead, the calm and gentle Tommy was on hand to guide our reporter through the castle.

It’s suggested that visitors make small talk with the cats, in the same way civilised guests would chat at a royal banquet, so that’s exactly what Mariko did.

Tommy: “Hello. Welcome to the castle. Please read the rule book thoroughly before entering. It’s NG (“No Good”) to carry us cats, and it’s NG to give us human food as well.”

Mariko: “Hmmmm…so holding you is NG. Is it okay to touch you?”

Tommy: “It’s okay to touch us, but be careful because there are bad cats. Brownie has a criminal history of biting, and Kibitarou is addicted to stealing food.”

Looking at the rule book, Mariko found a couple of cute “Wanted” posters for the castle’s naughtiest residents, where Kibitarou was described as “a glutton who is always looking for your food“.

After her introduction to the castle and its rules, Tommy invited her to explore the space.

Tommy“The castle has two stories so please make yourself at home. As the castle is designed to make it easier for us cats to relax, you can find us playing hide-and-seek in various places.”

Mariko did as she was told, immediately feeling a sense of relaxation and comfort as she headed up to the second floor to meet even more friendly felines.

There was something so soothing about being surrounded by cats and observing them as they flicked their tails, licked their paws and snoozed on the soft furnishings.

▼ All of a sudden, out of the blue, the cats perked up their ears and began to move.

Mariko asked Tommy what was happening, and he explained that it was mealtime.

Tommy“It’s time for our morning meal. Cats in the castle gather at this time, but what’s really interesting is the way we eat.”

Sure enough, the staff appeared with bowls of food, setting them down in front of the royal felines, and with that, the morning banquet began!

Mariko grinned behind her mask at seeing the feast take place. The felines all displayed impeccable manners, eating daintily from the bowls that were given to them.

Mariko: “Are there cats who eat the meals of other cats?”

Tommy: “Some cats like Kibitarou will try to eat the meals of others, and because they wolf things down with such gusto, there can be quite a few spills.” 

▼ Luckily, their human servants are here to clean up after them.

While the cats had their faces deep in their bowls, Mariko noticed a late arrival, sauntering over to the main eating area.

Tommy“That’s Chiffon-chan. She’s an elegant lady.”


Chiffon-chan: “Ah, good morning. I don’t eat much in the morning. Thank you.”

Chiffon-chan was a lady of few words, but Mariko could relate to her as she’s not much of a morning eater herself. However, for some reason, Mariko’s visit to this prestigious castle had given her an overwhelming appetite for…cat food.

Being a lowly species, humans are only permitted to eat after the felines of the castle have finished their food, so Mariko waited until the feast had ended to order a special type of cat food.

▼ Fish and chips and a Mochimochi Dog

The bowl her food was served in made Mariko feel as if she had sprouted fur and grown a long bushy tail. She polished off her meal as daintily as she could, and as she began licking her paws, Tommy sidled over to give her a hot tip on how she could get closer to the aloof felines in her midst.

Tommy: “Hey, if you have a cat snack on you, you’ll be able to get along with the cats.”

Mariko did have a snack jar on her, which she’d received upon entry, so she took it out of her pocket, and as soon as she did, one of the cats ran over to her.

▼ Wouldn’t you know it — it was the gluttonous Kibitarou!

Mariko decided to steer clear of the wanted criminal, and ambled over to the elegant Chiffon-chan, who’d barely had anything to eat this morning.

Mariko presented the lady with a fine morsel of food, but Chiffon-chan refused to take it. And she refused to acknowledge Mariko as well.

Oh well, Mariko should’ve known better than to try and socialise outside of her social standing. So she turned around, and in an instant, there was Kibitarou, greedily snatching up what Chiffon-chan had resisted.

Chiffon-chan didn’t seem pleased with Kibitarou’s behaviour, and now Mariko was being looked down on as well by association. With a flick of her perfect tail, Chiffon-chan ordered Mariko to take her leave and pay for her wrongdoings…with a purchase at the gift shop.

Banished from the castle, Mariko left with her tail between her legs, climbing the stairs and feeling more and more human with every step.

On the next floor, she found the Toko Toko General Store, which was stocked with a wide variety of cat-themed goods, covering everything from cute accessories to stationery, tableware, and even plushies.

Aspiring to be a little more like Chiffon-chan, Mariko decided to purchase a pair of earrings that she was certain would receive the lady’s approval on her next visit.

After paying for her purchase, Mariko’s ears suddenly pricked up as her newfound feline senses were receiving a telepathic message from…Kibitarou.

Kibitarou: “Pssst! Wanna know a secret? The cafe next door does a killer French toast. Would you drop in and have one for me?”

Mariko: “Oh, hey Kibitarou! Sure — I’ll do that for you, my gluttonous friend!”

▼ And with that, Mariko headed over to the Tea House Happa.

“Happa” means “leaf”, and that’s exactly what you’ll find here — in abundance. Mariko felt as if she’d opened the door to a forest, and the green hues inside the space were incredibly calming.

▼ Even the windows are shaped like leaves.

Mariko ordered the French toast recommended to her by her feline foodie friend, and when it arrived, she had to stop herself from throwing her paws up to her cheeks in delight.

▼ The French toast was cat-shaped!

Mariko got so carried away with the meal that she attempted to create a cat face out of the fruit that it came with, but the results weren’t as great as she’d anticipated.

▼ Chiffon-chan would not approve.

Still, the French toast tasted fantastic — it was light and fluffy on the inside and delightfully crisp on the outside. It was just what she needed to end her purr-fect visit to the cat castle, and as she sipped her chocolate-and-framboise flavoured herbal tea, she contemplated spending the rest of the day here, curled up under the sunshine by the windows.

Alas, Mariko had work to do, so she descended the stairs and made her way back to the harsh realities of the human world. The 1,540 yen (US$13.38) she’d spent to visit the cat cafe (there’s no entrance fee for the shop or tea house), was definitely worth it, and she vowed to return.

“See you soon, my feline friends!” 

Mariko left with a spring in her step and a newfound appreciation for the cat castle community. Hopefully next time Mariko will be able to impress the lady of the house, and if she has to rename herself with one of these top cat names for 2022, then…so be it!

Cafe information
Kichijouji Petit Mura / 吉祥寺プティット村
Address: Tokyo-to, Musashino-shi, Kichijoji Honcho 2-33-2
Hours and charges vary, see links below
Cat Cafe Temari no Oshiro
Tokotoko General Store

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]