While trying to decide on day trips I might take from Osaka, I polled my Facebook, asking if I should spend a good amount of money on taking the train to visit the famous Super Station Master Tama. You might know her as the world’s only train station master who also happens to be a cat. Of course, the replies were a resounding YES, so I did as the mob commanded and recruited Judith to travel to Wakayama with me.
Tama, who is paid in cat food, is now a railway executive and something of a phenomenon– since her assignment as station master, she’s injected more than 1.1 billion yen into the local economy. She even has her own “Tama-densha”, a train car decorated in adorable cartoon Tamas.
We didn’t get to ride on the Tama-densha, but Judith and I were still quite enchanted by our ride on the Wakayama Electric Railway, and by meeting Tama herself. She scampered within her glass-walled “office”, pausing to proudly survey her station.
The station itself was decorated with all sorts of Tama motifs– stained glass, tile floors, hanging curtains and cartoon likenesses of Tama could be seen every where. It also acted as a small museum, displaying Tama’s special station master hat and cloak. We went to the small shop adjoining the Tama Museum and picked up some Tama omiyage for ourselves– I bought a pin and Judith bought a bento. We even ate some Tama gelato and were honoured to be given the Station Master’s business card.
Visiting Super Station Master Tama was a wonderful day trip and really one of those “only in Japan” sort of activities. It also doesn’t hurt if you love dumb cat stuff.
I also recommend this really great blog post about visiting Tama.