Cat Stationmaster (Wakayama Dentetsu railway) [和歌山電鐵]
Wakayama Dentetsu ("Wakayama Electric Railway" in English) is a small railway company.
From JR Wakayama station to Kishi station, the train runs to the east in the rural area.
It is called "Kishigawa Line" and the length is about 14 kilometers.
A cat named Tama was born in an office near Kishi (貴志) station in 1999.
Tama was quiet and had been loved by the users of Kishi station.
Tama was living in a cat house around the office.
Because the managing status of the company had been failing, it decided to abolish the line in 2003.
Fortunatlely, an other company had taken over the company in 2005.
But, the reconstruction around Kishi station was planned because of establishment of the new company, so the cat house of Tama was forced to remove to any other place.
The owner of Tama was completely at a loss what to do.
When the opening ceremony of new company was held in 2006, the owner consulted with the president of the company.
At that time, the president looked at Tama and an idea flashed through his mind.
That was to appoint Tama to the stationmaster of Kishi.
In January of 2007, Tama became the first stationmaster of cat in Japan and made news in the country and the world.
From 2012, a new cat Nitama was added as sub-stationmaster.
Since that, two cats worked in Kishi station.
In June of 2015, Tama died.
Then, Nitama became new stationmaster and the name was changed to Tama II.
A new cat Yontama was added and works as new sub-stationmaster.
It takes 32 minutes from Wakayama to Kishi.
The railway has some cars.
And each car is colorful and has a theme.
The themas are "Tama" (Symbol cat), "Ichigo" (Strawberry), "Omocha" (Toy), "Umeboshi" (Pickled ume fruits), etc.
The inside of the car is like a museum of the theme.
Tama II is in Kishi station in the daytime everyday except Wednesday and Thursday.
Yontama is mainly at Idakiso station on the way, but comes to Kishi station on Wednesday and Thursday.
How to get here
Wakayama station of this railway is in JR Wakayama station.
The train is operated two times an hour.