We stumble upon Cat Alley during our temple walk through Onomichi. There are suddenly little painted cats on rocks everywhere and a cat shrine hidden in a nook.
Whoa what’s this, Owl Alley? We part the curtains and now there are a smattering of owl statues and figures along a path. I sneak passed an owl guard and accidentally knock it’s rotating head off with my backpack. Oh shit! Scramble to replace the head
There’s an Owl museum in here? We’re on the case…
Looks like the owl museum is closed for the day but there is a cafe in here too. We sneak in for a peek. The proprietor greets us and leads us to a sofa in the corner with some menus. Quietest cafe ever. Everyone is just whispering. There is an old 30’s era crooning lounge jazz being played softly in the back ground. Feels like we’re in some room from Bioshock’s Rapture. We’re the only foreigners in the place. There is a tiny owl in every nook and cranny of the place, owl paintings, owl statues. Hoo can it bee now?
We order up a couple of coffees and they come with some delicious sugar cookies. There is a pyramid of balls puzzle on the table. I take it apart and analyze. I can do this. But how? I hear the tiny mighty wiseman in my head again, “How did Kirk defeat Khan“. I destroy that inferior puzzle first try!
What is this jazz music? It’s good, I like it. Meandering piano and a breathy, low female voice. Bring up Shazam and have it listen. Diana Krall, live in Paris?! “Ok, Queenie we’re leaving”, “Oh Bee, why!”, “My shame…”
Back outside I take a look back at the Owl Cafe nestled into the hillside, overgrown with leaves and vines. So cool
Outside the curtained entrance is a Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorial. It’s a tiny bomb shelter cave that apparently has underground tunnels running back to Hiroshima.
We’re back in Cat Alley with more painted rocks, cat shrines and woodwork
There’s another entrance to the Owl Cafe at the bottom.
We find a cat map. Alright meow, where were we? There are a number of notes in memoriam of lost cats, poetry about cats, love letter to cats, prayers for sick cats, and just mad cat respect everywhere. There’s a cat bar? On the case…
Make a donation and rub the cat three times for good luck
There’s a cat cafe too but it’s closed probably due to the rain
These Cat Guards only let you in the back entrance to the Owl Cafe if you know the secret passmeow
My friend Emily had a cat named Moss when I was growing up. He was named after Randy Moss but I think they’d get along.
We find a more upscale Cat Shrine complete w a girl that collects a nominal fee for entrance. Time to purrruse
We wait for this black cat to cross our paths. He’s just finished praying inside.
Whoa that’s a lot of maneki-nekos! All the ones on the right have their right paw raised, left side, left paw. We’re gonna have tremendous luck after being in this room, I know it.
Time to purr-ray to the Cat Gods!
Back to cat alley. All this random painted stuff kinda reminds me of Rainbow Village in Taiwan.
Found the cat bar! Le Chat. Damn, doesn’t look like it’s open. Not until 230. You’ve cat to be kitten me, that’s hours away.
Find another cat bar, Ina Car. Also not open though. That’s too bad, I could really go for some cat-themed cocktails right meow.
I like this minimalist retro cat door
We find some celebrity alley cats along the path. They’re hanging outside a graveyard with a great view across the city to a large bridge in the distance.
We find some steep steps that lead to a secret path up some more overgrown steps at the end of Cat Alley. Let’s see what’s up there.
Nothing but a ray of light.
Ok, back down to Cat Alley and take a left at Le Chat.
We circle back around to where we were before but a level above. There is an ancient pagoda beside another graveyard.
And there is a cat sleeping in the sun right in front of the Pagoda and an outstanding view of the city. I think this sums up Cat Alley nicely