Did you know that there is a group of islands in Japan known as the Cat Islands? This clever nickname is because some of these islands have more feline residents than humans! These islands have become some of the most popular tourist destinations for cat lovers from around the world. Interested in visiting one or all of these amazing islands? Here is the list of the Top 10 Cat Islands in Japan!
- Ao Island (青島)
- Tashirojima Island (田代島)
- Oujima Island (奥武島)
- Enoshima Island (江ノ島)
- Ainoshima Island (相島)
- Aino Island (藍島)
- Uma Island (馬島)
- Sanagi Island (佐柳島)
- Ogijima Island (男木島)
- Yu Island (湯島)
- Mushima Island (六島)
Ao Island (青島) – Ehime Prefecture
Ao Island is a bit difficult to get to and is tiny, with only 0.5 square kilometers of land. But it is probably the most famous cat island in Japan!
There are only five humans on the island and more than 100 cats! The main and only attraction on the island is the cats, who are super friendly and love to be petted. Want to make a special feline friend for life? The cats on Ao Island love cat toys, so be sure to bring a few when you visit.
For more information, please refer to our article on Ao Island.
Tashirojima Island (田代島) – Miyagi Prefecture
Tashirojima Island is located east of Ishinomaki City in Tōhoku. Cats outnumber humans on this island, with a feline population of 130 and a human population of approximately 61.
The cats are so loved on this island that dogs are forbidden!
Moreover, there is an actual cat shrine on the island!
For more information, please refer to our article on Tashirojima Island!
Oujima Island (奥武島) – Okinawa Prefecture
Oujima is a 1.7-kilometer island near Okinawa, known for its tempura and its friendly cats.
Despite its urban vibe, the cats on the island are not as skittish as cats in larger cities in Japan. In fact, the cats that are lucky enough to live on Oujima are very approachable and love to be petted. You might even get a little kitty snuggle while on Oujima!
For more information, please refer to our article on Oujima Island!
Enoshima Island (江ノ島) – Kanagawa Prefecture
While Enoshima is a well-known destination, many might not associate this beautiful and quaint island with the idea of a cat island.
In addition to the shrines, caves, lighthouses, and trendy cafes, there are most likely a couple of cats lying on the side of the roads when you take a stroll in Enoshima. And if you are a big cat lover, be sure to stop by Cafe Maru and say hello to the resident cat, Tarō!
For more information, please refer to our article on Enoshima!
Ainoshima Island (相島) – Fukuoka Prefecture
Ainoshima Island is probably the second most popular cat tourist spot in Japan. Living on the tiny heart-shaped island are 280 humans and 230 cats.
Although the cats are friendly, feeding the cats on Ainoshima Island is not allowed, and remember to avoid playing with the young kittens because the mom might attack you.
Apart from the cats, there are many more historical and scenic attractions, including interesting rock formations that many rent a bike for the day to explore.
For more information, please refer to our article on Ainoshima!
Aino Island (藍島) – Fukuoka Prefecture
Living peacefully with the 260 humans are around 50 cats, which have attracted many tourists to this otherwise quiet island. The locals on the island are mostly fishermen and treasure the cats because they chase mice away who could make holes in their fishing nets.
In addition to the cute felines, Aino Island is also a great destination for history buffs and those enjoying the magnificent ocean views.
For more information, please refer to our article on Aino Island!
Uma Island (馬島) – Fukuoka Prefecture
On the way to Aino Island, the ferry will first stop at Uma Island, another hidden gem of Fukuoka’s Cat Island.
On the small island with a circumference of only 2.6 km, less than 30 people live on it. To find the cats, take a stroll in the residential areas because that is where most cats stick around.
If you can choose the timing of your visit, April and May are the best months of the year when the Wisteria is in bloom in Ōyamazumi Shrine’s precinct.
Apart from the Wisteria, what will catch your attention is the shell that was dropped on Japan during World War II!
For more information, please refer to our article on Uma Island!
Sanagi Island (佐柳島) – Kagawa Prefecture
Sanagi Island, floating on the Seto Inland Sea. It is another island where felines outnumber humans, and you will have a hard time finding a spot without cats. The cats on this island are very cherished and will jump from one side of the embankment to the other on the coastline with a little food bribery!
If one day’s cat cuteness isn’t enough, there is a hostel for you to enjoy a two-day trip on Sanagi Island.
For more information, please refer to our article on Sanagi Island!
Ogijima Island (男木島) – Kagawa Prefecture
Ogijima Island is located in the Seto Inland Sea and features a contemporary art festival, Setouchi Triennale, held on the island and, you guessed it… lots of cats!
There are more than 200 cats that inhabit this charming small island. Most of the cats on Ogijima Island stay with their tribes in certain areas. These cats are extremely friendly and may even let you pick them up!
If you are a cat lover and passionate about contemporary arts, Ogijima is a pleasant place to spend the day.
For more information, please refer to our article on Ogijima!
Yushima Island (湯島) – Kumamoto Prefecture
Yushima, or Yu Island as it is known, is an island in the Ariake Sea filled with interesting cat figures and signs. Of course, a massive cat population is essential to be famed as a cat island. So with a population of 500, at least 200 of the population are feline.
In addition to being greeted by a cat god stone statue soon after you get off the ferry, you might bump into a sea turtle from May to July when they visit the island to lay eggs!
For more information, please refer to our article on Yu Island!
Bonus – Mushima Island (六島) – Okayama Prefecture
We know we said this would be an article about Japan’s top 10 cat islands, but the cat islands are so special that we just needed to include one last one!
Mushima is a picturesque place in the Seto Inland Sea. With a population of only 60, this charming island is full of 100,000 daffodils that bloom in January and February. Some of the most notable sights on the island are the Mushima Lighthouse, the Mushimahama Brewery, several scenic hikes, and of course, more cats than human inhabitants!
Cute signs with cats on them give directions to spots worth visiting on the island.
For more information, please refer to our article on Mu Island!
The Rabbit Island in Japan
In addition to all the cat islands, Japan also has a rabbit island!
If you are interested, find out more information about this island with our article on Ōkunoshima, which is filled with a massive rabbit population!