This is one of those time periods where life is hard and lonely and I don’t want to do anything but watch Netflix in bed with my dogs. That doesn’t make for insightful writing, so let’s talk about something near and dear to my heart — Samurai Cat.

Hikone is a town that we stopped at for a night between Hakone and Kyoto, and it’s a little bit off the beaten path. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because this was arranged by one of my friends on the trip so it wasn’t anything I researched. Walking around the night we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. Hikone is a pretty town that feels more livable and real than busy Tokyo or touristy Kyoto.

We wandered around, and found a beautiful little temple that I naturally took way too many pictures of. Though I’m not a particularly religious person, I love sites of worship across the world and have always been fond of the smaller ones.

During our walk, we encountered this mysterious cat figure almost everywhere we went.

He was cute. He was dressed to impress. He was on everything touristy from Hikone, but we didn’t really know what the deal was… until the next day.

Hikone’s main tourist attraction is the beautiful Hikone Castle. It’s an undefeated castle rich in history, and as I crawled up the steep stairs to the top I learned how Japanese built everything defensively.

Beautiful wooden bridge? They’d chop it down if the enemy was approaching.

Pristine walls? Yeah actually they’re filled with peep holes for guns that are covered with thin plaster that they’d punch through to shoot people.

And of course it all worked, because the castle was never overtaken.

At the top of everything we saw the adorable white cat again, and we discovered his name — Samurai Cat. People were flocked around him as if he was a celebrity, but like any proper celeb — he wasn’t posing for photos with people. Instead, he brought out different props and went through poses while everyone crowded around him with their selfie sticks.

“He only comes out certain times of day,” the tour guide told us. Apparently Samurai Cat has a strict schedule.

The story of his origin is that there once was a samurai who was seeking shelter. I’m not sure why… probably samurai reasons. Anyway, he saw this white cat outside a temple and he went inside the temple. As soon as he did, it started storming violently outside and the samurai believed the white cat saved him… so Samurai Cat was born.

Honestly, he’s better than any man I’ve met in a long time. Samurai Cat is #baegoals. I wanted to take him back home with me, but will have to be satisfied with these pictures and the little metal pin I got of him for my bookbag.

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