Aoshima island, is famous as “Cat Island”, actually a small island, where there are expressively more feline residents than people and inhabited by 15 people and hundreds of cats. Aoshima is incorporated into Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture, a small, unpretentious island in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. However, the 0.5 km²island does have one unique claim to fame–it’s known as a paradise for cats and cat lovers.
However, the island does have one unique claim to fame–it’s known as a paradise for cats and cat lovers. The island wasn’t always so deserted, nor was it recognized as being a “cat paradise.” Cat Island is home to over 100 cats of all different breeds, which can be found lounging around and acting generally lazy in true feline fashion.
That’s pretty impressive, considering the island itself has only 17 permanent human residents, who range in age from their 50s-80s and either make their living through fishing or receive a pension. One nurse is stationed full-time on the island, but residents must board a ferry to Nagahama Port (near JR Iyonagahama Station) in Ozu City to do all of their shopping.
The tourists like to play with cats, and pet and take photos. It is impossible to see so many cats in one place, different breeds just the fickle nature of cats. The Residents of Hyogo Prefecture first migrated to Aoshima about 400 years ago to fish the huge numbers of sardines in the surrounding waters. The cats were primarily introduced to the island to prevent mice from chewing through fishing nets.
The island experienced a peak population of 798 in 1955, but the number of people dwindled just as the population of cats multiplied. Aoshima has experienced an unprecedented influx of tourists, leaving the local residents baffled and unprepared to deal with the flood of people streaming.
The sleepy island wasn’t always so deserted, experienced a peak population of 798 in 1955, but the number of people dwindled just as the population of cats multiplied. Few Communities are trying to boost the local economy drawing a fine line between promoting exchange with people from other prefectures and keeping their original quiet lifestyle.
So far, the island is not presently equipped to handle more than a handful of people in this modern age–there are no restaurants, no hotels, no cars, almost no bikes, and not even a single vending machine to be found! Furthermore, because the island is so small, many tourists inadvertently end up wandering onto the residents’ private properties. A similar island Tashirojima is a small island in Ishinomaki, Miyagi.