Now that I’ve finished with the Lolita posts, it’s back to my regularly scheduled travel posts. I’m currently writing this from Nagoya, but this entry takes place in Wakayama.
WARNING! This entry has a lot of photos, and they may not be interesting to you unless you’re a train nerd. (And/or if you like cats and strawberries.)
Because I’m a weirdo, I was more than happy to take a train to Kishi Station in Wakayama just to see a cat train. Yes, a cat train. Of course, this is no ordinary cat — this is SUPER STATION MASTER TAMA THE CAT. Yes, Japan has a cat station master. (This is Japan, after all. Anything is possible.) Tama is pretty famous, famous enough to have a train and a station devoted to her. The train is called the Tama Densha (densha is Japanese for train).
Wakayama is about an hour outside of Osaka. Once you get to Wakayama Station, you need to get on the Kishigawa line and ride it to Kishi Station — the last station on the line.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the actual Tama — she’s fourteen years old now and wasn’t on duty. There was only Tama’s “apprentice” Station Master Nitama (Japanese for “second Tama”). Here’s a CNN video about Tama if you want to see the real Tama in action.
At Wakayama Station, you’ll know you’re heading towards the Kishigawa line because of the cat paws!
The walls are also adorned with Tama posters.
IT’S THE TAMA DENSHA!
Wahhhhhhhhhh, it’s so cute.
The train is covered in Tama designs.
Even the timetable for the Kishigawa line features Tama.
The inside: Tama everywhere!
The sticker says “Tama Densha.”
A close-up of the wallpaper.
The details are almost mind-boggling. Oh, Japan.
No big deal, just making my daily commute to work in a CAT TRAIN.
UGH, THE DETAILS. SO AMAZING.
I can’t fathom a train like this ever existing outside of Japan.
The train even has Tama-shaped lights.
There are a variety of Tama seating arrangements for you to choose from.
There are also shelves of children’s books. You know, in case the fact that you’re on a CAT TRAIN isn’t entertaining enough.
You’ll know when you’re at Kishi Station.
The Tama timetable.
Awwwwwwwwww, the real Tama.
Outside the station: more Tama, of course.
AND THE STATION IS SHAPED LIKE A CAT! SHAPED. LIKE. A. CAT.
There’s a Tama cafe/waiting room.
Which, obviously, is filled with more Tama furniture.
Chairs with CAT EARS.
One of Tama’s Super Station Master outfits on display.
All aboard the Tama Densha!
Tama floor tiles. Really, this place is just wall-to-wall Tama.
Sadly, no Tama on duty.
More Tama artwork.
A portrait of the real Tama.
Outside the station, there is a cat shrine.
The Wakayama Electric Railway operates three “weird” trains. The Tama train, a toy-themed train, and this ichigo (strawberry)-themed train! Not all the trains run every day — check online which trains are running if you want to see a specific one.
This train’s theme is more subtle than the Tama train, but still really cool.
When the train pulled out of the station, the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” played.
It’s interesting because the theme trains have no advertising. (Unless the theme itself counts.)
If you’re ever near Wakayama, it’s worth a trek to Kishi Station to check out the Tama train. (It’s quite far from Tokyo though, so it’s not worth it unless you’re in the Kansai area.) Even if you’re not a train nerd, it’s fun to see crazy themed trains — a very Japanese-only phenomenon. And maybe you’ll get to see the actual Tama the cat!