May 18, 2022

How Stray Cats Saved This Japanese Restaurant From Bankruptcy

You’ve probably seen viral photos of giant cats next to a small town in Japan, and while they’re not really gigantic cats and the small town is just a miniature restaurant themed on the model, the history of the establishment of this configuration is very interesting.

Diorama Restaurant was opened in 2018 by model railway 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 closing.

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

© Naoki Teraoka

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

A few days later, Simba’s mother brought in three more kittens, forcing Naoki to change the whole concept of the restaurant, with the cats attracting more customers and even media attention, after pictures of the cats next to the model railways have gone viral.

Diorama© Naoki Teraoka

“It was a tough time financially 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 explained.

Now the Diorama Restaurant has over 14 adorable stray cats and visitors from all over the world come to interact with the kittens. Naoki decided to open a cat sanctuary and hotel on the second floor, giving visitors the chance to adopt one of his furry friends, helping over 100 animals in the process.

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