Lucky cats in every corner

Manekineko Art Museum

visit west japan, visitwestjapan, okayama prefecture


This lovely little museum nestled in the green hills of the North ward of Okayama City in an area called Kanayamaji is dedicated to “manekineko”, or “lucky cats”. Cats are not native to Japan, but were brought over from China on trading vessels in the Nara period (710-794) to keep rodents in check on the journey. 

Although cats were imported into Japan, the concept of the manekineko was not. Despite the fact that these figurines can be seen in shop fronts throughout Asia, they were originally crafted in Japan and are an original piece of Japanese culture.

Once in Japan, cats were regarded as lucky and useful, and as they were easy to domesticate, they became popular as pets. As they were natural hunters, they protected harvested rice from mice, which reinforced their image as lucky animals. Manekineko figurines also became popular. The items in the museum began from a personal collection of antique figurines and has grown to over 700 pieces. It is the oldest and largest museum of cat figurines in the country and is a must-see for cat lovers.

There is such a large variety of these cat figurines on display in every possible pose, color, size and material. As you walk through each section of this well-maintained rustic structure, you are sure to see one that speaks to you in particular.

The shop in front of the museum sells a wide selection of manekineko figures which make for perfect keepsakes. It might be a good idea to pick one up there because it is highly unlikely that you will come across these exact miniature works of art elsewhere.

The museum attracts all kinds of visitors, with both children and adults from around Japan and the world stopping by to write their wish for the future on a small card provided by the staff. These are then displayed on a designated wall of the museum.

Enjoy a unique collection of cat statues and statuettes that you will never forget.

Access: It is about a 20 minute taxi ride from JR Okayama Station.


About the Area

Okayama City is best known for its black ‘crow castle’ and adjacent Kourakuen Garden, but this city is undergoing rapid change and growth which has created new attractions for visitors. Momotaro Odori is the central boulevard that runs from the east side of Okayama Station toward the museum-rich Cultural Zone. The Prefectural Museum of Art, located a few blocks off the end of Momotaro Odori, showcases Japanese artists and regularly exhibits works on consignment from international museums and private collections. At the heart of the city, Okayama Station is a transportation hub and a nexus for shopping and dining.

Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

Cancellation Date Up to 21 days prior 20-8 days prior 7-2 days prior Day prior to start of tour Day of tour After start of tour/non-participation with no contact
Cancellation Fee No charge 20% of tour fee 30% of tour fee 40% of tour fee 50% of tour fee 100% of tour fee