All TopicsNewsTravelAnimeKawaii CharactersKawaii FashionJapanese StationeryMember Spotlight
YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogBakeneko Festival – Cats & Kawaii Culture Collide

Bakeneko Festival – Cats & Kawaii Culture Collide

By James
October 03, 2021

We feel that there are at least two things that everyone can surely agree on. Those two things are: 1) Cats, and 2) Halloween. Don’t you agree?

It’s hard to not have a soft spot for cats, even if you’re a dog person (just look at all the views for cat videos on YouTube). And Halloween, it’s such a fun time of the year for so many. Even if you don’t feel like dressing up in costume it’s hard not to get excited and feel nostalgic when the spooky decorations come out. Plus all that tasty candy, yum!

A small but endearing yearly festival in Japan seeks to bring these two agreeable factions together into one very lovable experience! Every October, in a quiet residential neighborhood in the capital Tokyo, the locals put on what’s called the Bakeneko Festival. In Japanese, ‘bake’ (pronounced ‘bah-cay’) means ‘changed’ or ‘transformed’ and is often used to refer to ghosts, and ‘neko’ of course means ‘cat’ – which together provides the spooky yet cute foundation for this festival.

This festival at its core is a celebration of cats and their contribution to Japanese folklore and literature. Wrapped in a fun layer of spooky, creative goodness, it’s a special way to keep books and the written word at the forefront of culture and remind us that there are as many journeys in paperback as there are on screen.

The Natsume Soseki Connection

Early Life

Natsume Soseki was born in 1867, just about a year before the Meiji Period in Japanese history officially began. He was swept up in the changes and modernization that this period brought to the country, and played a major role in solidifying a new era in Japanese literature as a writer. He was interested in Chinese classics in middle school, and then went on to study English once in university. This would prove pivotal as he then lived two years in the United Kingdom on his way to eventually become one of Japan’s first scholars of English literature. After this, he experimented in haiku and began submitting to literary magazines. Throughout his career he amassed a treasure trove of short stories and novels, often filled with relatable, humanistic themes. His name is known by virtually every Japanese citizen to this day, so much so that his portrait was chosen to adorn the obverse of the 1000 Japanese Yen bill from 1984 to 2004.

There’s no need to go far for the best kawaii Japanese goods! YumeTwins sends them straight from Japan to your door each month!

First Major Hit

He first gained nationwide recognition in 1905 with the success of his novel I Am a Cat. To date, this novel is assigned to nearly all Japanese schoolchildren at some time or another, and each chapter of the book can generally be read as standalone works as well, which has kept the story well-known and memorable amongst people of all ages. The main character is the cat in question, who narrates about the lives, quirks and all, of middle-class Japanese people, serving as a useful time capsule of sorts for early 1900s daily life.

Modern Interpretations

Because I Am a Cat was his first breakout hit and has high name-recognition, plus the fact that it predated other works of high acclaim from Natsume that were yet to come, makes it the perfect title to celebrate. Another connection between the festival and the author is that the event itself is held in an area of Tokyo called Kagurazaka. This area is where Natsume was born and ended up living the majority of his life. It’s also where the Natsume Soseki Memorial Museum is located.

Let the Party Begin!

Kagurazaka is a quiet area, but it’s an ideal location for the festivities of the Bakeneko Festival, as it’s not far at all from central Tokyo, and easily accessible by train. You’ll have no problem finding it even if you’re visiting Tokyo for the first time.

All that’s asked of revelers is that they show up in their best cat costume! Costumes are always imaginative and range anywhere from scary ghost-like cats, to super kawaii-type creations, so it’s truly the event for any and all cat lovers to celebrate just how they want to! 

Festival goers can also enjoy plenty of food stalls with delicious offerings from sweet treats to savory bites like yakisoba or takoyaki. The main draw may be the parade though, where revelers have the perfect chance to be the star of the show and get their cat-inspired costume into the limelight. Additionally, there are all sorts of fun and lively street performances by local artists to enjoy!

It’s great fun to see people eating, shopping, and just hanging out in their cat-inspired attire throughout the day. All in all, it’s a fabulous, lighthearted event to add your yearly Halloween-time itinerary!

Who is your favorite cat from the world of literature or pop-culture? What kind of cat-themed costume would you wear to this event? Let us know in the comments below!

Enjoy Popular Japanese Kawaii Merchandise Every Month!

Enjoy Popular Japanese Kawaii Merchandise Every Month!

Starting from $32.50 USD

Get YumeTwins

Author avatar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Crescent moon magic against a dark, starry sky.

Moon Magic Time: Japanese Pop Culture Inspired by the Moon!

The moon’s wonder and mystery have uniquely inspired the Japanese imagination for centuries! Let’s look at how moon magic has inspired Japanese pop culture!

May 24, 2024
Two pretty male characters in a dating sim.

Dating Sims: What Are the Best Ones to Play This Spring?

Dating sims offer a unique blend of romance, simulation, and sometimes downright silliness and fun that can keep you entertained for hours!

March 29, 2024
A butterfly resting on spring flowers.

Spring Flowers: Five Cute Blosoms in Japan!

Let’s dive into the magical world of spring flowers in Japan! As winter says goodbye and the air warms up, Japan bursts into a riot of colors and sweet scents.

March 14, 2024
Two ice cream parfaits form one of many cute cafes in Tokyo.

Cute Cafes in Tokyo: Five Amazing Places to Check Out!

Discover Tokyo’s cute cafes, where delicious treats meet creative themes! Whether you’re a foodie, an anime lover, or a gamer, Tokyo’s cute cafes have something for everyone!

March 13, 2024
The outside of AKB$* idol cafe.

Akihabara Idol Cafes: Which Ones Should You Check Out?

Visiting Akihabara wouldn’t be complete without checking out an idol café! Here’s everything you need to know!

March 01, 2024
A bunch of Pikachu plushies.

The Plushie in Japan: A Modern History

Whether it’s cute animals or a chibi version of your favorite anime character, this stuffed toy has fans worldwide, especially in Japan.

February 21, 2024
YumeTwins logo

Be a YumeTwins Insider!

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive kawaii news!


Accepted Payments
Visa payment availableMastercard payment availableAmerican Express payment availableDiscover payment availablePayPal payment available

YumeTwins Logo

Be a YumeTwins Insider!

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive kawaii news!

Ichigo Logo
Copyright © 2024 YumeTwins™. All Rights Reserved.
Accepted Payments
Visa payment availableMastercard payment availableAmerican Express payment availableDiscover payment availablePayPal payment available