Back in 2018, model train enthusiast Naoki Teraoka decided to combine his love for trains and hospitality by opening a diorama restaurant in his hometown of Osaka. The restaurant, named Tetsudoukan, was a place where people could come in and get a bowl of ramen while also checking out impressive railway models that filled the place.
The business was good early on, but COVID-19 changed all that, and Tetsudoukan was on the verge of closing its doors. Fortunately for Teraoka, a bunch of stray cats saved the day.
Everything started when Teraoka welcomed in a small cat that was in pretty bad shape. After nursing it back to health, he decided to keep it and named it Simba. But, as it turned out, Simba had a family that missed him, and his mom and siblings quickly found their way to the restaurant as well.
Seeing this cat family in need, Teraoka not only took them all in but also changed the concept of his restaurant to accommodate his new feline friends. The cats are now the centerpiece of the establishment and are free to roam the model railway train sets.
It turned out that this decision has given a new life to Tetsudoukan, as the place became popular like never before. The customers were pouring in to spend some time with cats and then stayed for delicious food.
Teraoka eventually rescued more cats, and there are more than a dozen now living in the restaurant. In addition, he created social media pages to share some of their adventures while also opening up a cat shelter on the top floor to thank the cats for their role in keeping his business alive.