Yes, there is a cat island in Japan. As you know, the Japanese never tried to hide their love for felines. This can be seen in the streets where there are lots of cat decorations, as well as in the cat cafes where you can have your coffee while petting a cat.
Well, did you know that there is also an island where they were historically very well cared for and pampered? This has made the cats there extremely docile. Going to this island is a great opportunity for cat lovers.
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Where is the island of cats in Japan?
To non-natives, the very concept of a cat island might seem a little quirky at first. But a cat island is, as the name tells us, an island where the cat population vastly outnumbers people. The concept seems to be unique to Japan, where we can find about a dozen “cat islands” ( neko no shima ,猫の島) scattered across the country.
For a long time, cat islands were generally ignored by the rest of the world, although in more recent years Aoshima (as well as other similar places) has really exploded on social media channels. This sparked a sharp increase in the number of foreign visitors to the island, which in turn helped the island’s modest economy.
Once Aoshima was a thriving fishing village in southwest Japan, now it’s home to few humans but hundreds of cats, hence the nickname “Island of Cats”. The sparsely populated island has become a booming tourist attraction, but there are no shops or restaurants here. However, this is changing because of cats.
In this way, cats have been largely responsible for keeping the cat island of Aoshima with a positive economy. There are also other tourist attractions on the island, but it must be said that none of them is as successful as the cats.
Things to do on Cat Island in Japan
On Aoshima Island you don’t just need to see the cats, although they are the main attraction.
Aoshima Island is also very popular as a surfing destination. Thanks to the generally constant wave that surrounds the island at any given time, surfing off the coast of Aoshima is relatively easy and always good fun.
Due to the tranquility that exists on the island, it is also possible to take the opportunity to meditate there.
In addition, there is also a shrine. One of Aoshima Island’s biggest attractions is the shrine of the same name. Known for its stunning red torii gate, Aoshima Shrine is actually a hot destination for young couples as well as single women, as it is traditionally a shrine dedicated to love and marriage.