Calico Cat in Nagano Pref. Tops 2022 "Kanban Neko" Rankings

Society Culture

Tokyo, Feb. 22 (Jiji Press)--A female calico cat in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, has topped this year's rankings of "kanban neko" cats at hotels and "ryokan" Japanese-style inns in the country.

Kanban neko refers to a cat raised at a shop or other facility to attract customers and sometimes give guests a sense of healing. The rankings were announced by Rakuten Travel, a travel booking website, in time with "Cat Day" in the country, or Feb. 22, which fell on Tuesday this year.

Kinako, the most popular kanban neko in this year's rankings, the eighth of their kind, is about 10 months old and lives at Kiriya Ryokan, an inn in the spa resort village of Nozawaonsen in Nagano.

The cat was taken into protective custody in Tokyo in spring last year. The person who found the cat is from Nozawaonsen, so she was first looked after at a restaurant in the village and then adopted out to Kiriya Ryokan in June. Kinako derives her name from the color of her fur, which resembles the color of "kinako mochi," or rice cakes coated with kinako, or roasted soybean flour.

The rankings were based on a vote by subscribers to Rakuten Travel's services who chose their favorite kanban neko from a list of cats at 50 hotels and inns. Kinako attracted 569 of the 8,623 votes cast. Coming second was Shikamaru, with 473 votes, at Beppu Onsen Aratama Ryokan in Beppu, a city known for hot spring in the southwestern prefecture of Oita, followed by Kumakichi, with 469 votes, at Kappo Ryokan Minamiya & Bettei Nekodokoro Minamiya in the village of Hakuba in Nagano.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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