Cats, cafes and temples: Exploring Onomichi’s “Cat Alley”

GetHiroshima

Feb 2, 2019

If you like cats and want to go “Peak Onomichi”, Neko-no-hoso-michi, Onomichi’s “Cat Alley” is a must visit.

Most of Onomichi clings to the side of the steep hills that rise almost directly from its waterfront. Tumbledown houses are tightly packed along narrow streets, many of which are inaccessible to motor traffic, and are heaven for those looking to fill their Instagram feeds with Japanese retro photographic goodness.

“Cat Alley” is the best known of these paths. Starting near the Onomichi Ropeway Station, the narrow street takes you past quaint cafes and galleries on its way to the summit.

Oh, and then there are the cats. Lots and lots of cats. Both real and ornamental, cats sit on walls, peer out of the shrubbery and guard doorways.

The path is quite steep, but don’t worry, the many inviting cafes in refurbished houses along the way offer plentiful pit stops.

Just below the summit are not one, but two 100 year old houses that have been refurbished. Former villa Miharashi-tei offers fantastic views from its cafe and you can also stay overnight. Fukuro-no-yakata has a beautiful olde-worlde tea house overlooking it garden and is filled with so many owl themed ornaments, one worries it might make the cats nervous.

Finally, at the top of the hill, you reach Senkoji Temple with its commanding views across the water to Mukaishima and the islands of the Shimanami Kaido beyond. Make sure to see what fate may have in store for you by drawing a fortune. Neko-no-hoso-michi is a place you’ll find yourself wanting to return to over and over, so whatever the outcome you can always have a do over!

Neko-no-hoso-michi “Cat Alley”

Address: Higashi Tsuchido-cho, Onomichi-shi

Website: https://www.ononavi.jp/sightseeing/showplace/detail.html?detail_id=732 (Japanese website is only available)

Phone: +81-848-20-0005 (Onomichi Station Tourist Information)

Best season: Spring to Autumn

Fee: Free

Access to Onomichi:

http://www.ononavi.com/access/detail.html

Information about transport passes:

Visit Hiroshima Tourist Pass

http://www.hiroden.co.jp/en/e-vhtp.html

JR-WEST RAIL PASS

https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/

*Information is correct as of January 2019.

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