The young Iicha feline has traveled through all 47 prefectures in Japan multiple times, and with her seasonal snaps and outfits, has gathered thousands of followers.

Arielle Busetto, JAPAN Forward

End of September, 2021.

It is a beautiful sunny day in Kumamoto, not far from the tourist spot of Takachiho, in the deep countryside in Southern Japan.

The last stop before the sunset is a shrine renowned for its dramatic set of stairs in the woods, called Kamishikimi Kumanoimasu Shrine.

Despite the stunning views, it’s a lonely sight.

Kamishikimi Kumanoimasu Shrine, photo detail by @ochancoco191 | Courtesy of © JAPAN Forward

At this time in September, Japan has still not lifted domestic COVID-19 emergency measures, and few people are traveling compared to an average year during the nation’s Silver Week.

Yet, the star of the day is about to surprise us.

A young female cat, almost completely white except a spot of black and brown around her right eye, with a tiger patterned tail, suddenly appears. She is sporting a colorful blue and pink outfit.

She sits majestically on a rock as we walk by. And as I watch curiously, a couple who are with her take countless pictures of the cat. “Iicha, look here!”

I can’t resist, and I start talking with the humans, who speak with pride about their feline companion. They are her owners, from Toyama Prefecture.

We learn that the cat’s name is Iicha, and the couple have been traveling around Japan taking pictures of her wherever they go for several years, ever since she was a little kitten.


By - grape Japan editorial staff.