Cat lovers thinking of visiting Japan might have heard about the cat island Aoshima. But did you know that there are many more cat island all over Japan? Let us briefly introduce the most popular cat islands found along the cost of Japan and how to get to them.
Tashirojima is a small island located in Miyagi prefecture, in the Tohoku Region, the north east region of Japan. The island is inhabited by a dwindling population of around 100 mostly elderly people, with the majority involved either in fishing or hospitality. Dating back to the late Edo period, a large part of the island used to raise silk-worms for textile production. And as a result cats were kept because they kept the mice away from the precious silk-worms. Today the silk-worms are long gone but the cat population has stayed strong and now outnumbers human residents 6 to 1.
Address: Tashirohama Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture 986-0023
First you need to get to the city of Ishinomaki. You can find google map directions to Ishinomaki Station here.
From Ishinomaki Station you can either take a bus stopping at the Ajishima Line-mae bus stop or take a 30 minute walk to the Ajishima Line ferry terminal. Then boarding the Ajishima Line ferry (Japanese) to go to Tashirojima island itself. The ferry takes around 40 minutes, but depending on weather conditions the ferry may be cancelled.
For visitors staying in and around Tokyo, Enoshima is the closest Cat Island located in the Kanagawa prefecture just south of Tokyo. And although Enoshima might not be as full of cats as Tashirojima, the island is connected to the mainland by a walk able bridge, making it the most accessible cat island.
Address: Enoshima Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture 251-0036
Enoshima island is a part of Fujisawa city in the Kanagawa prefecture. From Tokyo the fastest way is by riding the JR Tokaido Line to Fujisawa Station and from there changing to the Odakyu-Enoshima Line, stopping at Katase-Enoshima station. Assuming starting from Tokyo station the train rides takes about 1 hour and costs 1,130 Yen. From Katase-Enoshima station the island is a short walk of 20 minutes away.
Aoshima island has traditionally been a fishing island but due to its rapidly declining elderly population there are now more cats than people on the island. Now with more than a hundred cats taking claim over the many abandoned houses the island has become famous online as a cat island. With a large amount of tourists now visiting the island for cat sightseeing. There are no place to stay or stores on Aoshima island, so make sure to prepare food and drink before heading to the island.
Address: 269 Nagahamachō Aoshima Ōzu-shi, Ehime-ken 799-3470
Aoshima island is located in the Ehime prefecture in western Japan.
First you need to get to the Iyo-Nagahama Station. You can find google map directions to Iyo-Nagahama Station here. From Iyo-Nagahama Station take a short walk to Nagahama port, from where you will need to ride the ferry to Aoshima island.