Station master Cat unveils clock for “Railroad Day”

Japan celebrated “Railroad Day” on Thursday, the anniversary of the opening of the country’s first railroad on October 14, 1872, between Shimbashi Station in Tokyo and Yokohama.

The Wakayama Electric Railway in western Japan installed a clock with the image of a cat’s face on a platform at Wakayama Station on the Kishigawa Line to celebrate the occasion.

A calico cat, Nitama, discovered the clock during the opening ceremony on Thursday. She worked as a station master in another station on the line.

The clock, measuring 70 centimeters in diameter, has black and brown ears and three white mustaches on both sides.

Nitama is the second cat to serve as a station master, following the death of the first cat, Tama, in 2015.

Officials at the railway company say Tama has helped revitalize tourism in Wakayama Prefecture.

The company plans to introduce tourist trains in December to revive tourism as the coronavirus pandemic abates.

Wakayama Electric Railway chairman Kojima Mitsunobu said the coronavirus has brought a sense of stagnation in the country, but he hopes people will visit the station to see the clock.

The 14-kilometer Kishigawa Line runs through rural areas between Wakayama Station and Kishi Station in nearby Kinokawa.

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