Nekojima – Discover 20 Cat Islands in Japan

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If you are a cat lover, you must have noticed the influence cats have in Japan. Throughout Japan's history, some islands have been dominated by cats, with more cats than people. In this article, we are going to look at 20 of these islands.

For these islands the Japanese created the expression Nekojima [猫島] which literally means island of cats. According to my research, there are about 20 islands that can be called Nekojima, but there are definitely other places full of cats.

Read too: Neko – Cats in Japan

Why are there so many islands full of cats in Japan?

What few know is that cats dominate several islands in addition to Japan. This happens a lot on islands where there are many fishermen. We already know that the cat is Japan's favorite animal, so where there are fish, there are cats.

Most fishing islands are teeming with felines. Cats are definitely animals that you are likely to find in the midst of mountains and islands. I myself came across several cats while climbing the torii mountain in Kyoto.

Another factor is that many of these islands are small and with a low population, often without control, so the presence of cats ends up over the decades increasing with breeding. This has even happened with rabbits.

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Nekojima - Discover 20 Cat Islands in Japan

Tashirojima – The biggest Cat Island

One of the largest islands is called Tashirojima located in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. On this island there are more cats than residents. The island has approximately 100 inhabitants, it is famous and known as Cat Island.

It is believed that cats make the island prosper, and there is even a cat sanctuary called Neko-Jinja. This sanctuary was built after an accident where a rock that fishermen were using fell and killed a cat.

In a way they are right, thanks to the huge population of cats, the island became famous, and attracts many tourists from all over the world, and lovers of felines.

Discover cat-dominated islands in japan - cat island

Several blogs were created, and the island even won a movie called “Nyanko the Movie. In addition, the island is known for its cat-like inns. Despite tourism, this island has an uncertain future.

Tashirojima's cats are well cared for, but humans are aging, and the island is running out of inhabitants, we hope this problem will be resolved.

Aoshima – More cats than humans

Aoshima located on Ehime is another island with more cats than humans. There are only about 20 residents on the island and over 100 cats. It is believed that the cats were taken by fishermen in order to get rid of the mice.

Unfortunately, the island has not turned this proliferation of cats into a tourist spot. If you want to visit Aoshima, you'll need to take a ferry that only appears twice a day. There are no hotels or restaurants on the island.

When trying to search, be careful not to get confused, because there are many islands named after Aoshima, as well as places, train lines and even ships with that name. Despite being flashy, I don't believe it's the best option to see cats.

Nekojima - Discover 20 Cat Islands in Japan

Enoshima – Cat Island in Tokyo

For those killed near Tokyo, there is Enoshima in Kanagawa Prefecture. The island is located in Kanagawa Prefecture and is famous for its beaches, caves, museums and shrines. From 1980 the island started to fill with cats, which can be found all over the island.

This island is a perfect tourist spot, it is known as the island of locks. It is accessible by a 600 meter bridge, has many tourist attractions and even a beautiful view of mount fuji.

Read too: Enoshima Island and Padlocks of Love

On the island it is possible to donate money for food and contraceptive surgeries. Most cats are not afraid of people because tourists and fishermen who like cats feed them. A perfect spot for cat lovers.

okishima – Island in Lake Biwa

This is not an ordinary island, as it is located in the center of the great lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan located in Shiga, which is very accessible for anyone in the Kyoto region. The small island in the middle of the lake also has its history.

Seven samurai fought in a small civil war called the Rebellion of Hōgen, after the sad defeat, they had to take refuge in Okishima. According to legend, they left human and feline descendants.

Nekojima - Discover 20 Cat Islands in Japan

Other Islands of Cats

We will briefly describe some other cat islands below:

Iwaishima – Nuclear Cats

It is currently an unpopulated area that makes a living from fishing and organic farming. The island once ran the "danger" of having a nuclear power plant, but the population prevented its construction.

Muzukijima – Orange Island

Unlike the others, Muzukijima is famous for its orange and tangerine orchards. Can you imagine the wonderful smell that this island must have? Imagine this island with a bunch of kittens running around?

Ainoshima – Cat Paradise Island

This island is known as Cat Heaven Island or Cat Paradise. It is easily accessible by ferry which is located near the train station at Kokura Port in Kitakyushu Fukuouka. The terrain is flat, perfect for hiking with the cats.

Kadarashima – The island without dogs

This island has a legend that says that a dog earned the wrath of a deity from the Yasaka shrine on the island. For this reason, the species was extinct from the island, leaving only felines. You can see South Korea in some spots on this remote island.

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Nekojima - Discover 20 Cat Islands in Japan

List of islands dominated by cats

We promise to talk about 20 cat islands in this article, but we can't talk about all of them, as some are just small islands with nothing to declare, others with cat control plans or some don't even want to live people.

That's why we're going to list the 20 promised islands below, if you want to know more details about them, you can do a precise search on the Japanese Wikipedia. There you will find geographic, geological, history, residents and animal life information.

  1. Tashirojima (田代島) Miyagi;
  2. Yushima (湯島) in Kumamoto Prefecture;
  3. Kakarashima (加唐島) in Saga Prefecture;
  4. Muzukijima (睦月島) in Ehime Prefecture;
  5. Genkaishima (玄界島) in Fukuoka Prefecture;
  6. Ainoshima (相島) in Fukuoka;
  7. Ainoshima (藍島) in Fukuoka;
  8. Umashima (馬島) in Fukuoka;
  9. Iwaishima (祝島) in Yamaguchi Prefecture;
  10. Manabashima (真鍋島) in Okayama Prefecture;
  11. Sanagishima (佐柳島) in Kagawa Prefecture;
  12. Okishima (沖島) floating island in the middle of Biwako in Shiga;
  13. Teuritou (天売島) island in Hokkaido;
  14. Jikinejima (式根島) southeast of Niijima;
  15. Sakushima (佐久島) remote island in Mikawa Bay;
  16. Ogijima (男木島) island in Bisan Seto;
  17. Shishijima (志々島) in the Shiozawa Islands;
  18. Aoshima (青島) island in Ehime;
  19. Fukashima (深島) in Kamaeura Oita;
  20. Oushima (黄島) in Goto, Nagasaki;

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