Two off-the-beaten-path parts of Nagasaki City that are perfect for feline fans.
In Japan, February 22 is Cat Day, when feline fans celebrate their favorite animals in cute and creative ways, like the Paw Pad Vending Machine that appeared this year in Tokyo. However, there’s a part of Nagasaki City cat lovers will enjoy visiting on any day of the year.
On her recent trip to the city, our Japanese-language reporter Mariko Ohanabatake decided to go for a walk through the adjacent Nagasaki neighborhoods of Kannaicho and Juninmachi. They’re a bit off the beaten tourist path, and don‘t boast many major sightseeing attractions, but they’re both lovely neighborhoods to stroll about, featuring cityscape vestiges of the days when they were part of the Chinese resident enclave.
▼ Kannaicho is where you’ll find the Tojin Grounds, a cluster of temples that’s one of the best places to visit during Nagsaki’s Lantern Festival.
It’s not just the old-school architecture that’ll catch your eyes, though, but the number of cats.
Kannaicho and Juninmachi are both particularly hilly parts of the city, with all sorts of stairways and walkways that climb and wind around the topography. That’s just the sort of layout cats like, and in about 30 minutes of walking around, Mariko met nearly a dozen of the local felines.
You’re most likely to cross paths with them in the early evening, when even the shy kitties come venturing out of wherever they’ve been secluded away during the day to look for dinner. They do tend to stick to smaller backstreets, though, not the main boulevards that connect the neighborhoods to the busier parts of the city.
Speaking of food, it’s important to remember that these cats are primarily strays, so feeding them is discouraged. That also means that some of them might not be too comfortable being in close proximity to humans, so it’s best to keep a respectful distance when you first encounter one.
Some of the ones that Mariko met, though, were very friendly. A few even hopped up on her knees of their own accord when she squatted down to admire them at eye-level.
One other thing to bear in mind is that as quaint as the neighborhoods look, they’re mainly residential areas. So while you’re on your feline photo safari, you’ll want to keep your voice down, make sure you take any trash you generate home with you, and be careful not to wander onto private property while setting up your snapshots.
Follow those courtesy guidelines, though, and a stroll through Kannaicho and Juninmachi is a uniquely memorable way to spend an afternoon in Nagasaki, while still giving you enough time to walk to Russia the same day, if you’re feeling so inclined.
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