Have you heard of Aoshima Island? In Ozu City in Ehime prefecture, this island is located on the Inland Sea. This island has become famous for the amount of cats living here, some call it “Cat Island.” It is a residential area more than a sight-seeing spot. The island is about as big as the Tokyo Dome. Cats are the dominant species on this island.
Cats outnumber the human ration 6:1. Many cat islands are fishing villages. There are very few people living on the island. During the winter, the weather can stop the ferry from running. Local residents turned to twitter to ask for cat food to stop a cat uprising. A few days later there was so much cat food donated that the same person sent another tweet saying they received many many donations.
1. Ferry Boat to the Island
Photo Credit:Katou Yuuichi@youtube
A ferry runs twice a day from Nagahama Port in Ozu City in Ehime Prefecture. It takes about 35 minutes to get to Aoshima Island from the port, costs 680 yen one way. Due to bad weather, ferries are frequently cancelled, so check before going.
Since this island has been introduced on TV many times, the ferry has been extremely crowded these days. Additionally, there are no reserved seats on the ferry, you have to stand in a queue for a while and it is suggest to take the morning ferry. On the island there are no convenience stores, restaurants, places to stay, or even vending machines, so bring food, drinks, an umbrella, and what else you need before going to the island.
2. Cat Attack
As soon as you arrive at the island, dozens of cats will welcome you. They are used to people so they will walk over on their own and some will even sleep on your lap! However, it is prohibited to give them too much food. Since most tourists visit the island recently, some cats eat things they have never had before or eat too much, which sometimes cause physical damage to them. In addition, as they are wild cats, you need to be careful not to be scratched or bitten.
Normally, cats getting along well with each other and with human beings, but they often fight for food. Although a walk around the island is about 20 minutes, over 100 cats live in the area. Visitors can easily be surrounded by a bunch of cats, which is a paradise for cat lovers.
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Address: Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture, located on the Inland Sea
Access: 35 minute ferry ride from Nagahama Port
Website: Ozu City Official Site (Japanese)