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An island where cats rule!


Just off the coast of Japan, there’s a little fishing island named Aoshima where the cats have taken over. The locals call this place “Cat Island” because there’s now over 120 wild felines that call this home.

At one time, there used to be over 900 people living on Aoshima. At one time, they had introduced cats to their remote island to deal with the mouse population that was causing havoc with the fishermen’s boats. The cats decided to stay… and they multiplied!

Cat on Aoshima cat island in Japan

Photo by rahen z licensed CC By-NC-ND 2.0

Now there are more cats than people as there are only a handful of humans left on the island, most of them elderly who feed the cats and keep them company. The cats have made themselves comfortable in the many abandoned homes all over the island and laze away the days in the harbour, waiting for the tourists to arrive on the daily ferry.

With only about 10 of the cats being neutered, chances are that Cat Island will continue to be a tourist destination for quite a long time as long as there are people who are around to continue feeding the felines.

Orange tabby cat on Aoshima cat island in Japan

Photo by rahen z licensed CC By-NC-ND 2.0

If you think that Aoshima is the only Cat Island, think again. There are over a dozen cat islands that you can visit in Japan! Here are just a couple of them:

  • [+] Tashirojima, Miyagi Prefecture
    Photo by sonotoki licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
    In the 1950s, over 1,000 people lived on this island, but now there are only about 100. But there are hundreds of cats! If you visit, don’t try to bring your dog with you - they’re not allowed. But do feed the cats as people think that brings good luck. While on the island, you can stay in a cat-shaped Manga lodge.
  • [+] Enoshima, Kanagawa Prefecture
    Calico cat on Enoshima cat island
    Photo by skyseeker licensed CC BY 2.0
    If you’re ever in Tokyo, you can visit Enoshima, a cat island in Kanagawa Prefecture just south of the city. This cat island is really easy to get to - you just walk over the bridge. There’s even a famous shrine to visit inside a cave.
  • [+] Manabeshima, Okayama Prefecture
    Photo by rahen z licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
    Manabeshima is an island 31 km (19 miles) off the coast of Japan’s main island of Honshu. Not only is it a popular location for all the cats that make it home, but also for film crews who like its natural beauty and isolation.