Japan is already famous for appointing its very own cat stationmaster, and now the country has taken its enthusiastic embrace of all things feline to the next level: allowing you to wander the streets from a cat‘s perspective.
Cat street view, a new project launched by Hiroshima prefecture, is an interactive map of the port town of Onomichi, famed for its beautiful temples — and large population of cats. Indeed, it’s even home to a museum of waving “maneki-neko” cat dolls, making it the perfect location for what’s allegedly the world’s first ever “cat’s-eye view” technology.
The tool, which uses 360-degree cameras similar to those found on Google Maps, allows you to wander a shopping arcade and surrounding areas, exploring cat-friendly establishments and a selection of 11 pet cats who live in the district. Meta-tags also alert you to nearby cats with links to their bios, and — just in case there was any chance of forgetting that you’re now firmly in cat world — each mouse click is soundtracked with a meow.
A Hiroshima tourism official said of the map’s bizarre inspiration: “We were seeking to introduce a different way to look at our cities and offer a view of the streets that wasn’t available before.”
The tourist board has said it will add more maps in October, including cat’s-eye views of Onomichi’s Misode Shrine area.