I guess you’re wondering how we found out about this… We had just got the train from Osaka to Wakyama and when we arrived we spotted a really cute train with cats ears on. We had a quick look on the internet to find out that the Kishigawa train line had a special station master who you can probably guess is a cat! In 2004 the Kishigawa line was due to have all of its stations set to ‘unmanned’ because of lack of funds, with local business people acting as station masters where necessary. In Kishii, Tama the cat was one of a few strays that the acting station master had been feeding and she ‘took over’ the station master role.
It’s not too difficult, she’s there to greet passengers. Word of the unusual employee spread, and by bringing in a huge amount of tourist revenue, Tama saved the station from shutting in 2007 and has since worked her way up to ‘Super Station Master’. So in short Tama was a stray cat who was taken in. She was born in 1999 so getting old. Other cats help her out as apprentices. The cat we saw was called Nitama who works on the weekends. There are now four different trains on the line, cat train, toy train, a town mascot train (we think) and ichigo (stawberry) train, and the Kishii station has been redesigned with an interesting cat shaped front and a Tama museum (which is basically a shop and cafe, but really cute) We only got to go on the toy and cat train as the strawberry one wasn’t running that day. If you’d like to visit Tama you can find more info here. Enjoy the pictures and the video!