Nitama, the legendary cat who succeeded the former stationmaster, Tama is renowned for her friendliness. As Tama’s old assistant stationmaster, she has assumed the position in 2015, beating several other cat candidates to run Kishi train station in Wakayama Prefecture’s rural Kinokawa neighborhood .
I decided to meet Nitama myself in August when I was in Wakayama last month.
I rode on the Nimaten (Nima Train) with a day pass costs 780yen on the Kishigawa Line to Kishi Station. The train is designed and painted with cat images, it has a built-in small library filled with books on cats and feline designed seating! Needless to say, Tama is heavily featured in this train as a memory of his handwork in the past guarding the station.
The journey took approximately 30 minutes one way going through small towns with charming paddy fields and greeneries. Kishi station is probably the most popular station on this line, where most of the passengers get off with only one objective, to meet Nitama in person. I arrived at 11.40am, meeting Nitama through a glass box. I felt frustrated, because she was boxed up like in a museum! About 15 minutes later, I was delighted to see her outdoor as Nitama was scheduled for a photo shoot that day!
Seeing her unboxed, under the sunlight, outdoor, I felt relived though it’s temporary. No one is allowed to pat her, but seeing her up close has already made my day pass worth the value.
When you are in Wakayama, I do recommend you to take 2 hours off your schedule to drop by this charming train station and see Nitama at work! However, please make sure you check on the train scheduled (there are 4 themed trains) and Nitama’s working shifts of the week before visiting. Please check information online.
My Stay in Wakayama : Guesthouse Rico
Walking distance from train station and bus stop, the hostel provides clean beds and good amenities, with a small lounge at the ground floor where you can chill and relax. Very friendly owners, who have helped me in my last-minute travel planning.