Is It Really Full Of Cats, And Can You Visit?

Tashirojima, also known as “Cat Island,” is actually filled with more cats than humans – in a very unusual proportion.

An island where one can spend an entire day doing nothing but bond with the local cats – it sounds a little crazy, right? For some, it may seem magical, and the good news is: It can be done.

The island of Tashirojima off the coast of Ishinomaki has long been known for its huge numbers of cats, which far outnumber humans. While it takes more than a car trip to get to this remote island, for some, it’s worth it to see hundreds of cats who have claimed the destination as their own. While the growth of the cat population originally started as a way to control a serious pest problem, it has since become somewhat of a tourist attraction for lovers of four-legged fur cats.


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What do you know about Tashirojima Island?

For starters, it is important to know that when we say this island is full of cats, we mean their presence hundreds Of the cats it has a population of about 80 people. This, alone, has attracted many to its shores only because of the sheer vision of the many felines running around. And these cats are not only left to fend for themselves, but are also taken care of by the inhabitants of the island of Tahirojima. It’s not uncommon to find someone stopping to peek in the head, or finding bowls of food or drink left for these cute kitties to eat.


according to Atlas ObscuraOn the island, cats have always been believed to bring good luck and fortune. Thus, they have become to some extent local royalty, with many people doing their best to comfort or show affection for these furry pets. On the other hand, the increasing numbers of cats caused some people to leave the island, coinciding with the tsunami that severely damaged it again in 2011. However, this did not prevent the less than 100 remaining residents from staying behind to care for the cats. .

  • fact: Dogs are not permitted on the island for the welfare of the cats that already live there.


With tourism on the island booming thanks to these cats, it seems their purpose could be something much more than pest control. While the cats were originally brought to the island for pest control due to the island’s silkworm farms, their permanent residence there certainly boosted the local economy.

  • fact: Those who look seriously enough can even find a shrine on the island that was built in memory of a cat whose life was taken down by a rock fall (called a memorial). nicokkamisama).

To get to Tashirojima, AKA Cat Island

While getting to Tashirojima is not as simple as driving or jumping on an express train, it is not difficult either. Travelers will need to take a ferry from central Ishinomaki and the ferry ride takes about an hour to reach the beaches of Tashirojima. Along the way, the ferry will stop several times to smaller villages around the island, including Odomare Port and Nitoda Port, at the north and south corners respectively. For the most part, the cats are very friendly and quite accustomed to the tourists who frequent the island.


It is not unusual for cats to walk up to people and eagerly await head pats and massages, and tourists who stick to a happy cat purring on their lap are likely to be rewarded. Those who still have trouble finding the island’s cats can check out the Kamabutsu Shoten steps, to the island’s northwest shore, as it is the island’s only storefront. Most of the time, the traveler gets a lot of luck just by exploring the island on foot!

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Where do you see cats?

Those looking for cats won’t need to travel far to see them. While they can only be found by strolling between the northern and southern ports of Tashirojima, the highest densities of cats are usually found around Nitoda Port.


Other things to see on the island

In between petting the friendly cats of Tashirojima Island, visitors will likely be surprised to learn that there are many other things worth experiencing. While this island is not home to the major resorts or excursions one might expect in Japan, it is home to some unique attractions – such as ‘Manga Island’. This is an alternate nickname for Tashirojima thanks to the manga-themed camp site that can be found in the southern half of the island. Campers will find fun and unique cat cabins (surprise, surprise!) with artwork created by manga artists Ishinomori Shotaro, Chiba Tetsuya, and Kimura Naomi.


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