There’s a cute furry friend waiting to meet you in Shinjuku. Since it was installed in 2021, the 3D cat billboard has shot to internet stardom, and won a bunch of design and advertising awards. Here’s where and when to see it.
Where is the giant 3D cat billboard in Shinjuku?
The famous 3D cat billboard is located next to Shinjuku Station, but the key is knowing which exit to take. The easiest way to find it is to go out the East Exit ticket gates and then turn right. You’ll quickly see the exit with green stairs headed for Kabukichō. Go up these stairs and keep going straight ahead — you’ll see the billboard, also known as “Shinjuku cat”, at the first intersection you come across.
You could also take the Central East Exit out of the ticket gates, then turn left — and you’ll find the same green stairs.
When can you see the cat?
The 3D cat appears on the screen between various other advertisements throughout the day. It also appears for a longer animation sequence once every 15 minutes. If you don’t have time to wait around, you can check out its official YouTube channel to see an archive of its different animations.
The Giant 3D Cat Cafe in Shinjuku
On the first and second floors of the building under the billboard, there is a café rather aptly named the Giant 3D Cat Cafe. Here, you can buy cat-themed sweets and drinks, as well as postcards, t-shirts, and other 3D-cat merchandise.
But why is it a giant cat?
Well, Shibuya has Hachikō, an Akita Inu dog, and Ikebukuro has its owl mascots, so why can’t Shinjuku have a cat? Or at least, that’s what Omnibus Japan — the creative production company behind the 3D cat thought.
The company spent a lot of time studying cats’ behaviour so that they could animate the 3D cat realistically, right down to pupil dilation. And they thought carefully about the design of the cat too. It’s a male calico cat, which is actually very rare in real life, and one of its black patches is shaped like Shinjuku Ward. Finally, its collar is made from braided cords, in a nod to traditional Japanese handicrafts.
How many 3D animal billboards are there in Tokyo?
The Shinjuku cat is not the only giant 3D billboard in Tokyo. It is actually one of four billboards. There is also a 3D dog billboard in Shibuya, a 3D panda billboard in Shibuya, and a “Town Musicans of Bremen” billboard in Harajuku, which features multiple 3D animals.
- 265 m from Shinjuku Station
- 307 m from Seibushinjuku Station
- 381 m from Shinjuku-nishiguchi Station