This Japanese City Created a Street View for Cats (and for Humans, Too)

The lowdown on a fun tourism campaign

Over in the magical land of Japan, the tourism board of Hiroshima prefecture has created street view for cats. That's right—a site that offers a cat's-eye look at the city of Onomichi and its restaurants and shops.

Japan, like the rest of the Internet, loves its cats. Not only are they lucky, but there are shines devoted to them, cat cafés where you can enjoy petting them, and an entire island reserved for them.

In fact, most shops in Japan have a Maneki-neko—a welcoming cat statue—at the door to beckon visitors inside, so it's not surprising that a lot of them have actual cats as well. And when you find out that Onomichi is also known for its excessive volume of cats and has a whole museum devoted to Maneki-neko dolls, it becomes clear why the tourism board would seek to capitalize on the welcoming power of its feline friends.

When you encounter a cat in the street-view application, you can see a little bio about it. Then you can walk your paw-shaped cursor down the street while listening to street noises collected from the city and augmented with delighted purrs and meows. There are three paths to follow right now, but more are coming in October.

Looking at things from six inches off the ground is certainly a refreshing perspective. And Lala, your cat guide, will help you appreciate it as the official "Manager of Backstreet Tourism." Truly, they couldn't have picked a more perfect campaign.