Only commuters with a sharp eye will be able to spot them all.
As it turns out, there’s a lot of love for cats on the railway network too, because over at Tokyo’s Nippori Station you’ll find some cleverly hidden feline images dotted around the station complex. This is in homage to the surrounding area, which is known for its connection to cats — particularly the Yanesen area around the West Exit, which is said to be a “cat town”, and the Yanaka Ginza shopping strip, a five-minute walk away, where you’ll find loads of cat images and motifs, including “Senchan”, Yanaka Ginza’s official feline mascot.
The cat motifs at Nippori Station are a recent addition, following the renewal of the West Exit in April last year. This allowed Nippori Station’s own feline mascot, “Nyappori“, to finally play a more prominent role at the station, after the character became something of a symbol when it was created by a station employee in 2011.
▼ Nyappori combines “Nippori” with “nyan”, the Japanese word for “meow”.
Even after the character’s creator moved on to work at a different station, Nyappori’s fan base grew and the cat stayed behind to grace stamps and posters used at Nippori Station.
▼ Here, the cat demonstrates why you should stay clear of shutters while they’re in operation.
Following the station upgrade, Nyappori now has a more permanent position inside the complex, with staff saying the character can currently be found at three locations.
We paid a trip to the station to investigate, and found the first image of Nyappori on one of the floor tiles near the north ticket gate.
Our second sighting of Nyappori was found on a clear panel in a blind spot closer to the ticket gate.
The clear panel was a little harder to find, and we don’t want to spoil the search for you so we’ll just say you’ll need to look for it near this ticket gate, but be careful not to get in the way of passersby.
The final image is hidden near the ticket gate as well, but with all the eye-catching patterns around it, it’s probably the easiest to find.
And while it’s not officially an image of Nyappori, there are feline features to be found inside the sign that reads “Nippori Eki” (“Nippori Station“) at the west exit. The second kanji character trades its two top strokes in for cat ears, while the final character adds a pawprint in place of four small strokes and extends the final stroke out into a wavy cat tail.
All these adorable cat motifs now have people referring to Nippori Station as Nyappori Station, and it’s done a great job of enticing cat lovers to make a stop here to find the hidden feline motifs inside.
It’s not the only Japanese train station to pay homage to the feline, as Odoriba, one of the 100 best stations in the Kanto region, is a site of legend where cats once danced. Over there you can find even more hidden felines, including a holy memorial to the dancing cats!
Nippori Station / 日暮里駅
Address: Tokyo-to, Arakawa-ku, Nishinippori 2