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Shinjuku 3D Billboard:A New Era of Digital Landmarks

Perhaps no one expected that a Shinjuku 3D cat on a billboard could become an internet sensation, but its popularity remains high even now. As of this year (2024), this 3D cat “living” in Tokyo’s Shinjuku District has garnered over two million followers across various social media platforms.

This cute and charming 3D cat, turned internet celebrity, was casually posted on the Twitter (now renamed X) and YouTube by YUNIKA, a Japanese advertising display company, to document the entire construction process. At that time, they hadn’t even decided on a name for the cat, yet it attracted large crowds and many check-ins. At present, this Internet celebrity cat has become a digital landmark building in Shinjuku District as YUNIKA expected.

Are you also curious about the construction process of this internet celebrity 3D cat and how it gradually became a landmark building in Shinjuku District? For this reason, we interviewed several company personnel from YUNIKA who participated in the construction of the internet celebrity cat. Next, we will understand it step by step.

Why a Cat and Not Something Else?

Omnibus Japan's Draft
Omnibus Japan’s Draft

Many people are curious why, among so many animals, a cat was chosen instead of another animal or object. Ryojo Fujinuma, responsible for advertising sales at YUNIKA, explained that the planning department initially wanted to create a sample of a 150-square-meter outdoor 3D LED display for advertisers to reference.

This decision marked the first time in Japan that curved screen 3D visual effects were introduced in OOH advertising. Noticing the success of 3D large-screen ads from Korea and China, this also aligned with a trend in outdoor advertising development.

“To ensure that people in Shinjuku Station’s plaza could see an undistorted image from any angle, we considered that a curved surface might be the best choice,” explained Fujinuma.

When asked why they chose a cat, Fujinuma said that after consulting with several digital content production companies, they received numerous proposals. Among them, Omnibus Japan suggested: “What if a snoring cat lived on the screen…” This idea caught their attention.

They thought of the famous landmark Akita dog “Hachiko” in Shibuya, which has been made into films in Japan, the USA, and China. Hence, they decided to create a landmark in Shinjuku akin to Hachiko. In other words, they hoped this internet-famous cat could become a symbolic landmark in Shinjuku Ward.

So, when deciding on a meeting place, one could say, “Let’s meet in front of the 3D cat at the East Exit,” or “When you see the 3D cat, walk 50 meters forward.”

The Creation Process of Shinjuku’s 3D Cat


Among many cats, they chose Japan’s most representative calico cat, incorporating several small details:

  1. The left hind leg area of the calico cat is actually a map of Shinjuku District.
  2. The cat wears a traditional Japanese handcrafted red string around its neck.
  3. The calico cat was designed to be male, which is rare (1 in 30,000), symbolizing good luck in Japan.
The Omnibus Japan Team Has Hidden A Little Easter Egg The Tabby Cat Has A Dark Spot On Its Body That Corresponds To The Map Of Shinjuku Prefecture In Japan.
The Omnibus Japan Team Has Hidden A Little Easter Egg The Tabby Cat Has A Dark Spot On Its Body That Corresponds To The Map Of Shinjuku Prefecture In Japan.


Careful observers will notice that there are actually four different calico cats in Shinjuku: “Good Morning,” “Good Night,” “Meow Meow,” and “Zero Gravity.”


According to Fujinuma, the main purpose of creating social media accounts for the 3D cat was to boost Japanese tourism. JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization) data showed that due to the pandemic, the number of visitors to Japan in 2021 decreased by 99% compared to 2019, a record low.

This highly creative 3D billboard brings more fun, can be well spread on social media, to better bring the topic, and attract more tourists to visit, take pictures and check in, thereby enhancing Japan’s tourism economy.

Why are 3D billboards in Shinjuku District so popular?

Three Color Cat At The East Exit Of Shinjuku Station
Calico Color Cat At The East Exit Of Shinjuku Station

Through interviews with multiple people who have seen the Shinjuku 3D billboard, we concluded that the main reasons for the popularity of the Shinjuku 3D billboard are as follows:

Appearance design

People are always unable to resist furry animals, so there are so many people who like to keep one or more furry animals at home. It is precisely because of this that YUNIKA was attracted by Omnibus Japan’s proposal when casting.

After all, who can resist a lively and cute, furry animal jumping around on the screen. This way makes people feel very happy.


Before the Shinjuku 3D cat billboard, Japan had not introduced such a 3D LED display. The first introduction of this product will undoubtedly arouse people’s freshness, thereby attracting many people to come and watch and take pictures.

Three-dimensional sense

This 3D billboard can provide a feeling that print advertising does not have, so it is not only suitable for product promotion, but also for event marketing.

Many advertisers have also noticed this, so 3D billboards have emerged in recent years, such as the 3D billboard in Times Square, New York, the 3D billboard in Taikoo Li, Chengdu, and the 3D billboard in Seoul, South Korea, which have always been a hot topic on social media.

At present, this kind of 3D billboard still has a lot of room for improvement. Just like recently, Shinjuku District has begun to link multiple screens to form a more coherent and interesting picture, giving people a feeling of breaking the boundaries of dimensions.

In general, whether we look at the market demand for 3D display effects or from the perspective of creative forms, the development prospects of naked-eye 3D billboards are worthy of recognition.

How Many 3D Animal Billboards Are There in Tokyo?

In addition to the popular 3D cat, Tokyo has three other 3D animal billboards: the 3D Akita dog in Shibuya, the 3D panda in Shibuya, and the 3D owl in Ikebukuro, making a total of four 3D animal billboards.

The 3D panda and owl billboards aren’t as influential as the 3D calico cat and Akita dog billboards, possibly due to screen size and location.

Shibuya 3D Billboard: Hachiko

Shibuya 3D Billboard
Shibuya 3D Billboard:Hachiko

This Akita dog named Hachi(ハチ)  has a touching story. Hachiko was brought to Shibuya, Tokyo in 1924 by Hidesaburo Ueno, and he waited daily at Shibuya Station for his master to return.

Unfortunately, Ueno passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1925, but Hachiko continued to wait tirelessly until he died, never meeting his master again.

Due to Hachiko’s loyalty, a statue was erected in his honor, and his story was made into films in Japan (1987), the USA (2009), and China (2023).

Based on Hachiko’s story, Japanese outdoor advertiser HIT combined it with 3D LED technology to create a large 3D billboard.

The 3D billboard spans four buildings, covering a total area of 1,235 square meters, about the size of three basketball courts. It features scheduled playback, making it appear as if a giant Akita dog jumps from one building to another.

Shibuya 3D Billboard: Panda

Shibuya 3D Billboard Panda
Shibuya 3D Billboard Panda

Not far from Shibuya Station is another popular 3D billboard featuring a panda, created by Garden Co., Ltd. It’s situated atop Yamashita Honki Udon Restaurant.

The billboard shows a short animation of a casino slot machine: when it hits the panda jackpot, a 3D panda appears.

Introduction to 3D Billboard Basics

The principle behind 3D billboards is quite simple. By arranging LED cabinets in an “L” shape or slightly curved, a special viewing angle is created, giving the screen a three-dimensional effect. Combining this with 3D content, the final visual effect is achieved.

A Billboard Used On Trucks
A Billboard Used On Trucks

As a result, we can see such 3D billboards not only on large outdoor screens but also indoors and even on trucks. For more information about 3D billboards, click here: 3D Billboard Ultimate Guide.

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