Aoshima (Cat island)
Welcome to the kingdom of cats.
Aoshima is a sleepy island in Ehime Prefecture just one mile long and is better known by its nickname, “Cat Island.” With feline residents outnumbering the human population by about eight to one, it’s a must-visit for all cat lovers!
Although once a bustling fishing island, there are now only a handful of human residents left on Aoshima. The cat population is thriving, however. Originally introduced to help the fishermen by keeping the mouse population in check, they are now YouTube sensations and the island’s star attraction.
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These fluffballs will happily play with you and let you take photos in return for food and your undivided attention. There is a designated feeding area near the island’s community center, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the port, so if you wish to feed the cats please only do so at this location.
Know before you go
Aoshima is not designed for tourists, and there are no hotels, restaurants, shops or even vending machines on the island. Visitors should bring their own food and drink, and take all their garbage home with them.
Most of the people living on Aoshima are elderly, so please be respectful of the residents – both human and feline – during your visit. Not visiting Ehime anytime soon? Check out one of Japan’s other cat islands, Tashirojima, in Miyagi prefecture, which is northern Japan.