11 Cat Islands in Japan Worth Visiting

Cat-lovers rejoice! There is heaven on Earth for you out in the seas surrounding the island nation of Japan. That would be the famed “cat islands,” also called “nekojima” in Japanese. Though the Internet has long been aware of one island where cats outnumber humans 6 to 1, Japan actually has eleven cat islands in total where cats rule. These places are placid getaways from a dog eat dog world and might just be the ultimate stop for anyone who seeks to be surrounded by nature and feline friends.

1 Aoshima

The most well-known island of cats is Aoshima, a tiny plot of land within Ehime prefecture on Shikoku. Ever since the first photographs of this sleepy village were uploaded on Twitter a few years ago, there has been an increase in tourism on Aoshima.

However, the new wave of humans on the island have done little to fluster the furry residents and the elderly humans who care for them. The cats were first introduced as protectors of silkworm that the fishermen used for bait. Now, the human population has decreased overtime to about only 20 people (15 are permanent residents), but over 120 cats remain.

The best way to reach the island is by taking the 30 minute boat ride. Because the age of the residents on the island, do not expect to make this more than a day trip. There are no hotels and a disturbing absence of vending machines on Aoshima.