Photo By: 暇・カキコ
Region
Shikoku
Island
Shikoku
Largest City
Matsuyama
Population
1,493,126

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.

3 More Chances to See Animals

Although semi-feral, the cats on Aoshima are used to human visitors. Thanks to the recent boom in publicity, it’s not unusual to find a crowd of tourists attempting to befriend the kitties. Luckily, with over 100 felines living on the island, you won’t have to compete too hard for their affection!

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.

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How To Get There

Address

269 Nagahamachō Aoshima, Ōzu-shi, Ehime-ken 799-3470, Japan

By train

Nagahama Port is just a few minutes’ walk from JR Iyo-Nagahama station. It’s advisable to check the weather conditions before you leave, as ferries may be canceled if the weather is bad.

By boat

Ferries run to Aoshima twice a day from Nagahama Port, at 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The journey takes about 30 minutes and a round trip costs ¥1,360. Ferries run back to the mainland at 8:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. There is no overnight accommodation on the island so make sure you don’t miss the boat home!