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Yanakado, a place to discover your very own manekineko cat



2021.05.20 (Thu)

By Charlotte, long-term Tokyo resident & history-loving traveler

An area with a large population of stray cats, Yanaka is familiar to people as a cat town. Yanakado, a shop in Yanaka established by a designer, handles many handmade and hand-painted original manekineko cats and related goods.

Manekineko, a "beckoning cat," is an auspicious figurine handed down since the Edo period in Japan, appearing even in ukiyo-e illustrations of the era. What the figurine invites is fortune. A beckoning right paw is said to invite money; a left paw, people.

Most of the figurines at Yanakado are made and painted by hand, giving each a different face. You can even have a manekineko custom made from an image you provide. The adjacent sister shop Cafe Neko-e-mon offers a manekineko painting experience you can enjoy with desserts and drinks. Draw a face with pen on a palm-sized figurine, then color it, to create a manekineko all your own.

Come to Yanakado and get a manekineko that will call in your own fortune!

Many other cat-related shops and monuments can be found in Yanaka. Visitors to Honmyo-in Temple can get a manekineko shuin, a stamp given to worshipers by temples and shrines as proof of a visit to worship.

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