Japan loves cats. In case you were unsure of this, maybe you should visit one of the country’s cat cafés. Or there’s always Tashirojima, best known for being an island inhabited almost exclusively by cats. Now the prefecture of Hiroshima has created a GPS-based mapping system from the perspective of a cat.
Locals, but preferably tourists, now have the opportunity to travel around the city of Onomichi using a cat’s-eye view. Designed with the same technology used in Google Street View, rather than mounting a camera on top of a car, members of the tourism board hung a camera so that it remained a perfect eight inches off the ground while creating the map. With such a low height, many felines from the city’s population of over 150,000 cats are visible on the map. The most famous eleven cats even have a link where you can read up on their lives, or as it appears on the screen, ‘biogra-fur-ical information.’
The main focus of the street view is a shopping arcade in the central part of the city. While this is already a major destination for visitors coming to the thriving port community, the tourism board wanted to entice a new set of visitors to come see the shops and buy the specialty wares produced in the city. Also included in the street view for cats is the area surrounding the city’s famed Maneki-neko Museum, housing a collection of over 1,700 beckoning cat figurines. And to tie everything together, the walkway to the museum is called the Path of Cats, due to all the paintings of random cats that have been placed there over the last fifteen years.
Just like with Google Maps, users can click on various shops and figure out details including hours of operation and user reviews. Hiroshima prefecture has plans to develop additional cat’s eye view maps for other areas in the state. More locations, such as Misode Shrine, a spot made famous by the Japanese film Transfer Student, will be added by October.
You can paw around with the map here. (Yes, your mouse cursor will actually turn into a little cat paw).