Visiting Aoshima Island – Japan’s Real Cat Paradise

Welcome to Aoshima, the Japanese Cat Island where the cats far outnumber the people, and a ferry brings day-trippers out to visit the cats.

Aoshima island, off the coast of Ehima prefecture in Japan, is said to be a cat lover’s dream, with cats outnumbering the human populace by 6 to 1. The island is home to only 22 people, who are mostly elderly pensioners, but there are over 120 cats.

The story goes that the islanders used to raise silk worms to obtain silk for their fishing nets and the cats were originally kept to control the numbers of mice that fed on the silk worms.

The present day residents do help to feed the cats, but the felines mostly fend for themselves, eating fresh fish.

While there is now a steady stream of tourists visiting the island and its cats, their numbers are limited, since just one ferry comes to the island and it carries only 34 visitors a day.

The limited number of visitors suits the residents, who do not want their peaceful way of life disrupted.

There are no hotels, cars or shops on the island.

According to Japan Daily Press, islanders said cat numbers began to shoot up about a decade ago. As the aging human population decreased, the cats’ breeding went unchecked, locals said.

Just look some pictures from Reuters/Thomas Peter about Aoshima:

Cats crowd around village nurse and Ozu city official Atsuko Ogata as she carries a bag of cat food to the designated feeding place on Aoshima Island. Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter

Village nurse and Ozu city official Atsuko Ogata holds a cat. Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter


Go along on a visit to the island by watching the video below: