Only in Japan: cat and dog trains that woof and meow

Matthew Cobb called my attention to this tw**t a while back, which of course intrigued me.

Here’s a view of the cat train, apparently taken from the d*g train. Be sure you watch till they pass and exchange “greetings”!

But wait—there’s more! Here’s a Tama Trolley named after the famous (and now defunct) Tama, who presided as titular stationmaster of the Kishi station in Wakayama from 2007-2015. (You can see another Tama train, equipped with ears and a cat-themed interior, here.)


The Kishi station itself was rebuilt to look like a cat. The Japanese sure know how to treat their felids!



  1. Posted September 8, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Not quite the Super Shinkansen service!

  2. Merilee
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink


  3. Lynne Hessler
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    They really do it right in Japan!

    • Darren Garrison
      Posted September 8, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Ugh. Don’t know what caused that mess of an error, but, Jerry, you probably should edit it out since I doubt that Lynne Hessler wants her e-mail address exposed.

  4. Darren Garrison
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Wolf and meow? They are in Japan–they “wan” and “nyan”!

    • Posted September 8, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I wonder where Mr. Dunn is from, spelling it “miaow.” I find various spellings of meow very interesting for some reason.

      • Lars
        Posted September 8, 2016 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        And why not? Tracing the varieties of meow across the globe gives us information on the pattern of colonization by cats. It helps us reconstruct how they conquered the world.

      • Merilee
        Posted September 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Miaow sounds Italian to me🐾🐾

        • Posted September 9, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink

          I’m pretty sure the Italian is “Miao.” They’re not big on the letter “W” in Italy.

          • Merilee
            Posted September 9, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

            Yes, you’re right! Strike the w.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted September 9, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            Too much exposure to “weni, widi, wicti” at school?
            (I’m told that some schools of Latin think that “v” was pronounced more like the English “w”.)

      • Alastair Haigh
        Posted September 9, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        I believe “miaow” is the British spelling and “meow” the American version. I grew up spelling it “miaow” and only came across the US variant via the internet.

  5. Bonzodog
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    The cat and dog train are to be found running on the Kintetsu Ikoma Cable Line … details here:

  6. Derek Freyberg
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I was trying to figure out where these were, since they were clearly cable cars (note the cable in the middle of the track), and it’s the Ikoma cable car, which is on Mount Ikoma, between Osaka and Nara. See
    The dog and cat cars apparently run on the lower line, and there are two more decorated cars (“do-re-mi” and “sweet”) on the upper line.
    They weren’t there when I used to live in the area.

  7. barn owl
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Kyuuto! I love the Tama images on the trolley!

  8. Achrachno
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I think the Kishi Station looks a bit more like an on-coming sting ray than a cat.

  9. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    They’re not actually ‘trains’, but single cars on a cable-operated line – presumably up a steep gradient somewhere. You can see as you pass the ‘cat’ car that the side windows are at an angle – which means the seats will be too – they will become nearer level when on the slope.

    (OK, so I’m a railway nerd).


    • Publilius
      Posted September 10, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      How on earth does that track switch work? The “frog” doesn’t seem to have any break in it between the rails. How can flanged wheels go across it?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 10, 2016 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        From the video – at a guess, I’d say that the right-hand wheels (on the car the video is being taken from) are double-flanged and the left-hand wheels are flangeless. And the other way round for the car coming up.

        A few seconds later, you can see that the foot crossing is cut away on both sides of the right-hand rail, but not at all for the left-hand rail, which is consistent with that. (And the opposite of course, for the other track).

        The points (switch) at the start of the video are a conundrum, since they appear to be open for both tracks. My guess is the (flangeless) left-hand wheels are made with extremely wide flat treads, enough to span the gap.


        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 10, 2016 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

          The configuration at crossings is shown quite clearly in the Wikipedia page:

          Interestingly, in that photo, the cars have pantographs, all four tracks have overhead wires, and only one track has a cable actually installed, at least on the flattish stretch near the camera. I thought they were maybe in the process of converting to electric traction, however that would need rack on the steep section – or a cable. Hard to tell in the photo, but the cable may be in place on the steep section of track further away from the camera. The overhead wires might be for lighting only.

          Unfortunately the Wikipedia article doesn’t go into details.


  10. Mike
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Love those Trains.

  11. Posted September 9, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    And people say that the aesthetics of technology don’t matter …

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