Hidden in the depths of northern Kyoto is a magical place that is sure to be a hit among cat lovers. In fact, visitors might even feel a little bit spiritual after making their way to the entrance, given the lengths that were taken to make this sanctuary fitting for felines.
Welcome to Nyan Nyan Ji, a temple whose Japanese name literally translates into “Meow Meow Shrine.” According to Bored Panda, the sanctum was founded in 2016 by painter Toru Kaya, who is well-known for his work at various temples. Kaya reportedly designed Nyan Nyan Ji with his favorite cat in mind, installing statues and hanging drawings of felines around the place.
In the four years since the shrine opened, the temple has had three generations of feline monks — yes, you read that right. The current head monk, Koyuki, has become somewhat of a celebrity on Instagram. With over 10,000 followers, the cat, who regularly sports a signature necklace and satchel, has become a fan favorite.
In addition to Koyuki, the cat’s owner told Bored Panda in 2019 that there are six other cats working at the temple: Waka, Chin, Aruji, Ren, Konatsu and Chicchi.
“Visitors who come to worship play with cats and enjoy cafés and cat art,” the unidentified owner said.
What’s more is that the shrine has so far received decent reviews on TripAdvisor, though some questioned whether it was a place of worship at all.
“Heading back from Ohara, we stopped by the Nyan Nyan Ji,” one reviewer wrote. “It is a nice Cat Cafe with pretty art work and other cat merchandise that you could buy … For us as cat lovers, definitely a must visit. We enjoyed it very much and spent a fun and relaxing time!”
“It’s a bit out of the way getting to this cafe but if you like cats it’s pretty cute,” another added. “The cat I saw didn’t look too pleased to be forced to interact with the visitors so I hope the animals are being treated well. [It’s] full of cat themed food and memorabilia and souvenirs. The price seemed decent.”
If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about this cat’s expressions that have accurately captured how we’ve felt over the years.
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