Tokyo is undergoing massive redevelopment said to happen only once a century, with areas preserving the old townscape becoming increasingly limited. However, Yanaka Ginza still retains much of its historic charm from over 100 years ago, with rows of traditional small shops and houses lining its streets.  

The surrounding areas offer plenty of nature, such as the Yanaka Cemetery and the Nezu Shrine with its many torii gates and azalea bushes, making it an ideal place for a stroll. It's a popular spot among Japanese people too, and I visit regularly.

Yanaka Ginza: Tokyo's Old Town for Cat Lovers

This area is known to Japanese people as the "Town of Cats". As a huge cat lover myself, this neighborhood is like a paradise!

Yanaka Ginza has many cat-friendly environments like shrines, temples, the vast Yanaka Cemetery, and back alleys. While the number of cats has decreased recently, it's said there were hundreds of cats roaming the area before. A few years ago when I visited, I did see cats around the shopping street, but lately I haven't been able to spot them much. 

However, compared to lively areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya, Yanaka Ginza still has fewer major streets and is relatively quiet, so it remains a cat-populated area.

As the "Town of Cats", Yanaka Ginza has many cat cafes and shops that cat lovers would enjoy visiting. It's a must-visit neighborhood for any feline enthusiast! 

In this article, I'll introduce some of my recommended cafes, shops, and attractions around Yanaka Ginza for cat lovers.

Cat Cafes to Visit in the Yanaka Ginza Area

・Yadori-gi Cafe & Restaurant (Where You Can Interact with Rescued Cats)

Source: Yadori-gi Cafe official website

This cafe & restaurant lets you spend time with rescued cats living on the premises. Unlike many cat cafes in Japan that charge by 10 or 30 minute increments, Yadori Gi has set fees of 1,200 yen for 1 hour with a drink, or 2,200 yen for 2 hours, which is reassuring.

Unusually for a cat cafe, they also offer food plans, making it perfect for lunch at Yanaka Ginza. The cafe is run by a husband and wife team, with the husband being Italian, so you can enjoy authentic Italian cuisine - a big draw!  

To protect the cats' health, there are many rules like not being allowed entry if you've interacted with other animals that day. While walk-ins are accepted if there's availability, weekends often get fully booked, so making an online reservation is recommended.

I discovered this place while strolling around Yanaka and wanted to go in, but it was fully reserved that day.

<Store Information>
Address: 3-15-1 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Monday or Tuesday
Phone: 03-5809-0864
Hours: 10:00 - 20:00

・Neco Republic

Neco Republic
Source: Neco Republic official website

With the theme "Every Day is a Cat Adoption Fair," just visiting supports cat rescue efforts. The spacious interior has a catwalk on the walls, allowing you to watch the cats from below!

The fee is 1,100 yen for 30 minutes (additional charges on weekends). Private rooms are available for an extra fee, recommended for families or groups who want to relax with the cats. Reservations are prioritized, so check in advance.

<Store Information>
Address: 3-9-15 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo 3F
Closed: Wednesdays
Phone: 070-9090-2993
Hours: 12:00 - 18:00

Recommended Cafes for Cat Lovers

・Cafe Nekoemon

Cafe Nekoemon
Source: Cafe Nekoemon official website

This cafe is located in a renovated traditional house over 90 years old, giving it an old Tokyo exterior look. The biggest draw is being able to hand-paint maneki-neko (beckoning cat) figurines. The design is up to you - color, pattern, everything! These original lucky cats make great souvenirs.  

If you're unsure what to paint, there are plenty of examples in the cafe for inspiration. Many visitors try recreating the patterns of their own pet cats, so prepare reference photos or illustrations if you want to do that!

Cafe Nekoemon
Source: Cafe Nekoemon official website

It's also a regular cafe, so you can enjoy coffee, cakes, and meals while painting your maneki-neko. The food menu means you can visit for lunch at Yanaka Ginza or anytime.

<Store Information>
Address: 5-4-2 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Mondays
Phone: 03-3821-0090
Hours: 11:00 - 19:00

Magical Trip's tour includes a stop at Cafe Nekoemon for the lucky cat painting experience during the Yanaka stroll. Taking a tour is recommended for an efficient and enjoyable Yanaka experience!

> Yanaka Historical Walking Tour in Tokyo's Old Town

・Le Prieve

Le Prieve

This retro cafe has 3 resident cats. It's not a cat cafe, so you can't guarantee meeting them, but there's a hole in the wall that lets the cats freely come and go between the cafe and the owner's home. If you're lucky, you may get to interact with the lounging felines.

I love the unpredictability of not knowing when they'll appear - very cat-like! Visitors say it's fun waiting in anticipation. The extensive menu also makes it great for lunch at Yanaka Ginza or casual cafe visits. Even if no cats are around, the cat-themed mugs let you enjoy your coffee in cute fashion.

<Store Information>
Address: 1-2-16 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Fridays
Phone: 03-3823-6254
Hours: 8:00 - 19:00

Recommended Street Food for Cat Lovers

Introducing must-try street food in Yanaka Ginza for cat lovers.

・Yanaka Shippoya

Yanaka Shippoya

This shop's main offering is stick doughnuts in the shape of cat tails! They also sell cat paw-shaped chocolates and castella cakes. The "tail" doughnuts come in 12 different designs so you're bound to find one resembling your own cat.

Using domestically-sourced ingredients, they also have seasonal limited flavors adding to the fun. It's the perfect snack for strolling around Yanaka!

<Store Information>
Address: 3-11-12 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Irregular
Phone: 03-3822-9517
Hours: 11:00 - 18:00 (until 19:00 on weekends)

・Nuno Fusen

Nuno Fusen
Source: Yanaka Ginza official website

This shop offers popular cat-themed souvenirs like bowls, chopsticks, and cups. Originally a handmade crafts store, it transformed into a cat goods shop after a stray black cat started acting as the store mascot.

Of course, that black cat became the beloved shop cat! If you're lucky, you may get to meet it. With all staff being cat lovers, you can enjoy chatting about cats - a universal topic that's sure to get lively.

<Store Information>
Address: 3-11-14 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Irregular
Phone: 03-5685-6788
Hours: 10:30 - 18:00

・Neco Action

Neco Action
Source: Neco Action official website

Every single item sold here has a cat motif or design. From stationery to kitchen goods and fashion accessories, they offer a wide array of cat-themed merchandise.  

The antique-style interior coupled with the densely packed cat goods creates an endearing atmosphere. As a cat lover, I can't help getting distracted by all the adorable items one after another!

<Store Information>
Address: 3-10-5 Nishi-Sugamo, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 
Closed: Mondays
Phone: -
Hours: 11:00 - 18:00

Enjoy Cat Art at "Gallery Nekomachi"

Gallery Nekomachi
Source: Tripadvisor

Yanaka Ginza even has a gallery dedicated solely to cats! It hosts solo exhibitions by artists working with feline themes across various mediums like ceramics, paintings, sculptures, and photography, displayed in a renovated home.

Cat-only art galleries are quite rare, and the content changes with each exhibition, giving you reasons to revisit repeatedly.

<Gallery Information>  
Address: 2-6-24 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday  
Phone: 03-5815-2293
Hours: 11:00 - 18:00

Don't Miss the Seven Lucky Cats of Yanaka Ginza!

Seven Lucky Cats

Along the shopping street are 7 wooden cat sculptures created by students of the Tokyo University of the Arts. It's said that finding all 7 cats will bring you good luck, but they can be quite tricky to spot as some are on rooftops instead of just outside stores.

I had trouble locating them all on my first visit. Each cat has its own charming character, so I'd recommend seeking them out!

About Lucky Cats (Maneki-neko)


The iconic Japanese "beckoning cat" figurines seen all over Yanaka Ginza and the country can have either one paw raised or both paws raised, each with a different meaning:

Right Paw: Beckons money/fortune  
Left Paw: Beckons people/customers
Both Paws: Beckons both money and people

Typically, right paw cats are for attracting wealth and luck, while left paw is for prosperous business. Both paws raised is seen as beckoning everything, though some view it as rude "hands up" gesture. Personally, I prefer the both paws raised version to attract fortune and people!

Popular Street Food in Yanaka Ginza

・Niku no Satou

Niku no Satou

At any Japanese shopping street, butcher shops selling fried meatballs (menchi) and croquettes are a must-try street food classic. In Yanaka Ginza, they're so popular they're called "Yanaka Menchi" and "Yanaka Croquette".  

At Niku no Satou, you can get freshly fried menchi and croquettes. It's popular enough that lines often form, but they move quickly so decide your order in advance. Some days they even sell out, so go early to avoid disappointment.

<Store Information>
Address: 3-13-2 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Mondays  
Phone: 03-3821-1764
Hours: 10:30 - 19:30 (Fried foods from 12:00)

・Maruhatsu Fukushima Shoten

Maruhatsu Fukushima Shoten
Source: Maruhatsu Fukushima Shoten official blog

Alongside Yanaka menchi and croquettes, grilled scallops, squid, and other seafood are also popular Yanaka Ginza street foods. As a seafood specialist store, Maruhatsu Fukushima always has fresh fish and shellfish available, including seasonal delicacies.  

<Store Information>
Address: 3-13-4 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Sundays & Holidays
Phone: 03-3822-2315  
Hours: 9:00 - 19:00

・Yanaka Senbei

yanaka senbei
Source: Yanaka Senbei Official Facebook

This shop sells a wide variety of Japanese rice crackers (senbei), a beloved snack food in Japan. Depending on the time, you may be able to try freshly-baked, piping hot senbei right out of the oven or even watch the baking process.

While regular senbei are tasty too, the freshly-baked ones are exceptional! If your timing is right, definitely try these fragrant, crispy-fresh crackers.

<Store Information>
Address: 7-18-18 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Tuesdays
Phone: 03-3821-6421
Hours: 10:00 - 17:30

As you can see, Yanaka Ginza has plenty of cat-themed cafes, shops and more for feline fans to enjoy. Cat lovers or travelers missing their cats should definitely visit this area! If you have time, taking a tour around Yanaka is also recommended.

The Yanaka Historical Walking Tour in Tokyo's Old Town covers cafes, lucky cat painting experiences, and more over 3.5 hours, providing an efficient way for first-timers to thoroughly experience Yanaka.