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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > September 2018 > The Beckoning Cat

The Beckoning Cat

A Japanese good luck charm reveals the country’s fascination with felines, and its origins give plenty of paws for thought

THE SECRET HISTORY OF

PHOTOGRAPH: DANNY SMYTHE/ALAMY

LONG BEFORE ANYBODY in Japan had the idea to start a cat café, businesses across the land knew to put up feline statues in order to prosper. With right or left forepaw raised, the maneki-neko (‘beckoning cat’) brings in the punters for slices of sashimi, bottles of saké and boxes of electronic goods. The cat has caught on in Chinese restaurants too.

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About Lonely Planet Traveller (UK)

In the September issue… pick out your own bucket-list experiences from our selection of 40, from crossing the Canadian Rockies by train to admiring autumn leaves (in May) under the peaks of Chile's Torres del Paine; book a Great Escape to Ibiza, to discover parts of the island that move to a different beat from the legendary clubs; keep pace with herds of wildebeest as they migrate across Tanzania's wondrous Serengeti; set off on a road trip following the Mississippi River to New Orleans, through the heart of America's musical culture; and much more