all images courtesy diorama_shokudo
Railway model enthusiast Naoki Teraoka has operated miniature model-themed ramen restaurants and eateries in Japan since 2005. His latest was the Diorama Restaurant in Osaka, which he opened in 2018. But when the global pandemic struck two years later, business went south and Teraoka was pushed to the brink of shutting down his business. But an unlikely savior–a stray cat that Teraoka rescued–would turn things around.
During the pandemic, Teraoka rescued an emaciated stray kitten that had found its way to the restaurant. Later, the kitten’s mother and siblings also showed up and before Teraoka knew it he had a family of cats climbing, lounging and sleeping on his miniature models.
It was like the set of a monster cat movie so the owner began photographing and posting pictures to the restaurant’s Instagram account. Before long, people began showing up from all over Japan to see the cats and business took off.
Feeling grateful and in debt to his feline friends, Teraoka opened a cat shelter on the 2nd floor of his restaurant and now devotes a significant amount of time to helping stray cats get off the street and into homes. Here is the Diorama Restaurant website where you can make reservations to visit, learn about their rescue cats or donate to help support their activities.