The Hikone Castle in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture last year drew a record 850,000 visitors. It was the highest number of tourists to visit the castle in a decade and a more than 60% jump from the previous year. Why the sudden interest? All because of the castle’s castle’s mascot, a big, chubby white cat named Hikonyan, Japan Times said. Hikonyan was originally created to mark the castle’s 400th anniversary last year. The cat engages in walks around the castle, often drawing a crowd of visitors young and old alike, a spokesman for the city of Hikone was quoted saying.
Folklore has it that a cat once saved a nobleman from danger centuries ago.