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Tashirojima Island

A true cat paradise

Tashirojima Island

Off the northeastern coast of Japan lies an isolated island where cats outnumber human beings. Officially named Tashirojima Island, the tiny landmass is better known as “Cat Island” for its thriving feline population. Originally a rich fishing ground, the island has since been adopted as a utopia for cat lovers around the world.

Only a 45 minute cruise from Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture, the island’s serene atmosphere captivates travelers, and is so small that it can be traversed in a single afternoon. Visitors arriving at Nitoda Port are welcomed by a parade of cats who are always happy to make new acquaintances. The cats have grown accustomed to humans, and readily welcome new visitors to their island home.

The cats inhabiting Tashirojima Island are neither domesticated nor feral, with regular haunts and daily routines. They are happy to share a meal with the local people, yet maintain their independence as they roam the island freely. Carefree cats can be found playing with toys gifted by tourists, relaxing in the sun, or vying for scraps left by the local fishermen. The cats of the island lead unique individual lives, and are beloved for their aloof-yet-amicable personalities.

True to its nickname, the island is home to a shrine dedicated to a benevolent cat deity. According to legend, local fishermen erected a shrine to honor of a cat who lost its life in an accident. The next time the fishermen went to sea, their devotion was rewarded with an enormous catch.

Clear waters surround the fishermen’s boats

Cats rules the island