How stray cats saved this Japanese restaurant from going out of business


You have probably seen viral photos of giant cats next to a small town in Japan, and while they are not really gigantic cats and the small town is just a miniature model-themed restaurant, the story of how this set up came together is very interesting.

The Diorama restaurant was opened in 2018 by railway model enthusiast Naoki Teraoka, quickly attracting customers and becoming a great place to visit. However with the financial problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic, many local businesses, including this one, were on the verge of closure.

The beloved restaurant didn’t have enough customers to maintain the business, but just when things seemed definitive, a furry hero appeared to save the day.

Diorama©Naoki Teraoka

Naoki found a stray kitten next to the restaurant and decided to keep him when he noticed he needed medical attention, food and a home to stay in. Naming him Simba, the owner of ‘Diorama’ saw Simba’s mother a few days later and sheltered both cats, as they had plenty of leftovers due to the lack of customers.

Days later Simba’s mother brought three more kittens, making Naoki change the entire concept of the restaurant, with the cats attracting more clients and even media attention, after photos of the cats next to the railway models became viral.

Diorama©Naoki Teraoka

“It was a financially difficult time for us, but we decided to help the cat family. Yes, we thought we were helping them, but they were the ones who helped us,” Naoki shared.

Now the Diorama restaurant has over 14 adorable stray cats and visitors from all over the world are coming to interact with the kittens. Naoki decided to open a cat shelter and a hotel on the second floor, giving the opportunity to visitors to adopt one of his furry friends, helping more than 100 animals in the process.

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