Cat Lovers: Welcome to Japan

by Angelique Platas

Mar 11, 2019

© Qiming Yao | Dreamstime

Trends / Unique Itineraries & Tours

Rest assured, cat-loving travelers can basically go anywhere in Japan and find kitty-covered everything, from candy and cookies decorated with cat faces to clothing, accessories, purses, backpacks and essentially everything in between. It’s safe to say the Japanese really love cats. For those looking for that extra cat power on their trip, Japan has a couple islands dedicated to making those dreams come true.


Anyone who is feline obsessed may already know Aoshima is the place to be. Also known as Cat Island, Aoshima is an island in the Ehime Prefecture famous for the large population of feral cats. The feline residents outnumber humans 10:1 and are descendants of their ancestors who lived on the island to decrease the rodent population. Mission accomplished, and then some.


A lesser-known cat island, but with more than 150 residents awaiting visitors, Ainoshima is a cat lover’s getaway. On the island of Shingu, in the Fukuoka Prefecture, Ainoshima is a small island offering scenic coastlines, hot springs, quaint quiet towns and, of course, a small village of cats living by the main port.


Known as the cat island of Miyagi, Tashirojima is located of the coast of Ishinomaki and home to hundreds of cats. Begin your journey to Odomari Port, but no need to bring catnip, these felines are well-fed by local fisherman and a bit heartier than you might expect. Tashirojima is a small island with a low population (of humans) and little tourist amenities — so be sure to keep a vigilant eye on bus departures and taxis to get you around the island. Check out the Nitoda port and villages for accommodations, located nearby the Nekokamisama cat shrine.



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