How to get Cat Islands in Japan: Aoshima and Tashirojima

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Cat island, Aoshima, Ehime, Japan
Cat island, Aoshima, Ehime, Japan Source: Yomiuri News

Cat Islands in Japan becoming popular.

 

Onegai Kaeru team sees more people online talking about cat islands and also many online/offline news paper also featuring about it. We still do not see much practical information for those who want to visit the islands.

 

Thus we decided to provide some practical info on two cat islands, how to get these islands and what the cat island local says about the visitors. 

Cat Island 1. Aoshima

Aoshima island ( 青島 ), Ozu-city, Ehime, is "cat island". Due to the internet hype the island becomes one of the popular destinations for the cat lovers.

 

The island has 15 people( age between 50-80 years old) and more than 100 cats. There is neither inn, restaurant nor vending machine( as of Oct, 2013).

 

During WWII, many people escaped to the island from the main land. The island population hit the highest 655 people in 1960. There have not been enough job so many people left the island. On 1976 the island's only one primary school shut down.

 

Early 2000 the cat population started to grow while the human population hit then new low, 50.

 

Today you only see 15 people( 4 fishermen and the rest retirees) on the island.

 

There is no car or even a bike so no real threat to cat and there are many abandoned houses where cats can live peacefully.

 

(Your guesthouse/hotel options for Aoshima island. Click here) 

 

Cat island 2. Tashirojima

Another cat island in Japan is Tashiro-Jima Island (田代島) in Ishinomaki, Miyagi (86 inhabitants and more than 100 cats) where the cat is enshrined, there is a cat shrine and also cat photo competition.

 

(Your guesthouse/hotel options for Tashiro-jima island. Click here)

(Extra info)

Although these two islands are major and popular ones, there are several other islands in Japan which are (basically fully!) occupied by cats.  Some other islands are not occupied by cats but rabbits.

 

For the overseas, Malta island is known as cat island too (around 800,000 cats, and 400,000 people). 

So how to get these Cat islands?

 

For traveler's tip...

How To Get Aoshima

 

For Aoshima, Ehime, (35 min) boat trip 2 times a day from Nagahama Port, Ehime pref. To get Nagahama port, get off at JR Iyonagahama station and walk.  

 

There are Nagahama ports in Shiga pref and Kagoshima pref also, be careful not to confuse.

 

Here (hard to access the website) is the time table of the boat to the island in Japanese. So we put the info from the website for you in English as below:

 

Timetable for Aoshima

Season   Nagahama port dep Aoshima port arrival Aoshima port dep Nagahama port arrival
All year 1st boat 08:00 08:35 08:45 09:20
2nd boat 14:30 15:05 16:15 16:50
- - - - - -

Valid as of May, 2016( subject to possible change) 

 

Price of the boat trip

One way: 680JPY (Adult=12 year old or older), 340JPY (Child=6 year old or older but younger than 12 year old)

Round Trip: 1360JPY (Adult=12 year old or older), 680JPY (Child=6 year old or older but younger than 12 year old)

Valid as of May, 2016( subject to possible change) 

 

If you have some check-in-baggage, it costs some hundreds JPY (i.e. 120JPY per one item(bag etc.) if lighter than 10kg, 250JPY per one item(bag etc.) if heavier than 10kg but lighter than 20kg, 390 JPY per one item (bag etc.) if heavier than 20kg but lighter than 30kgValid as of May, 2016 (subject to possible change)  )

 

After the media reported about this island, it has become hard to get the ticket. We learnt that the ticket is sometimes sold out even 3 hours before the departure.  

 

For details, here is the telephone number of the Port +81 893-52-2700.

How to Get Tashirojima

For Tashirojima, Miyagi, take Ajishimaline (40 min) cruise from Ishinomaki Port and get off Nitoda Port of Tashirojima( and, to get the Ishinomaki port, take a bus from JR Ishinomaki station)

 

Price of the boat trip

 

One way: Adult 1230JPY, Child 615JPY ( 2-3 round trips a day depending on season)

  

The time table is here (in Japanese ) based on which we made the English time table as below: 

Timetable for Tashirojima

 

To Tashirojima IslandAjishima Island
Ayukawa

Ishinomaki(石巻) dept


Tashirojima island (
田代島)dept


Aji island(
網地島)dept

Ayukawa(鮎川)

Oodomari(大泊)port

Nitoda(仁斗田)port

Aji(網地)port

Nagato(長渡)port

1A

Blueliner(ブルーライナー)

 

 

 0640

0705 final stop 

 

2A

Miyu(みゅう)

 

 

 

07:52 

0814 

0829

3A

Blueliner(ブルーライナー)

09:00

09:38

09:46 

1000 final stop

 

 

4A

Mermaid (マーメイド)

12:00 

12:53

13:04

13:24

13:53

14:21 

5A

Miyu(みゅう)

 

 

 

1230

12:49

6A

Blueliner(ブルーライナー)

1530

16:08

1616

1629 final stop

 

 

7A

Miyu(みゅう)

 

 

 

1610

1629

 

 

 

To Aji IslandTashirojima Island
Ishinomaki

Ayukawa(鮎川) dep

Aji island(網地島)dept

Tashirojima island (田代島)dept

Ishinomaki(石巻)arr

Nagato(長渡)port

Aji(網地)port

Nitoda(仁斗田)port

Oodomari(大泊)port

1B

Blueliner(ブルーライナー)

 

0710 

0727

0740

0746

0829 

2B

Miyu(みゅう)

 07:30  

07:49

Connecting to 2A above

   

3B

Miyu(みゅう)

11:50 

12:08

12:27

Connecting to 5A above

   

4B

Blueliner(ブルーライナー)

 

 

14:00 

1412 

14:18

1500 

5B

Mermaid (マーメイド)

1425

1441

1512

15:33

15:35

16:46

6B

Miyu(みゅう)

15:30

15:48

16:07

Connecting to 7A above 

 

 

7B

Blueliner(ブルーライナー)

 

 

16:30

16:42 final stop

This does not go to Ishinomaki 

 

For the details, here is the telephone number of the ship company +81-225-93-6125.

 

Valid as of May, 2016 (subject to possible change) 

 

Tips for your trip

Bring something to eat and drink, umbrella and some plastic bags to bring back the garbage at least.

 

In case of Aoshima, there is neither shop nor vending machine. It is common that the ship is canceled due to the high tide etc. from November till March( autumn and winter). Thus, you need to be very positive-minded enough not to be disappointed to find your ship is canceled after you travel all the way in the cold morning.

 

If you stay in Matsuyama, not recommended to travel from there to the port in the morning. It is 1.5hour train trip to the port from Matsuyama, considering the risk of cancellation, good to stay in some place near the port( some list of the hotel and inn here) one day before the trip to the island and stay there for a couple of days to test your luck to get the ship. 

 

In case of Tashirojima, unless you stay at some guesthouse or so,  there is one shop to buy some food in Tashirojima which is NOT open everyday and are only a couple of vending machines. 

Message from Cat Island

Many of Onegai Kaeru team friends and thousands of tourists visiting these islands. What do local say about the visitor? Some are happy but some are not happy.

 

Aoshima Island shared their message for visitors:

 

These are 5+1 rules for the visitors for Aoshima

 

1. Feed the cats only at a designated area near the "community centre". Do not give food around the dock  (where people get on and off the ship)

2. Do not hang around the dock (where people get on and off the ship) so that you do not stop other logistics. ( means... once you get off the ship, just keep moving away from the dock area!)

3. Do not enter the private area ( local people's houses) without a prior permission

4. Please take the garbage back

5. Do not feed the cats too much, or the cats get sick (we do not want that, right?). If you brought too much food for cats, you can leave it in the cat food containers in front of the community center and at the waiting room for the ship.

( 6. There is a donation box in the waiting room for the ship. Your consideration (cash!) shall be used for the cat)

 

We did not get any message from Tashirojima yet but surely the similar rules apply. Act with consideration and good manner.

Where Should You Stay?

Now you know how to get these islands. Not so easy sometimes, right? Then the next question is...where should you stay on your journey to these Cat Islands? 

We featured several options and places to stay in the other articles: 

 

For Aoshima: You want to find out where you can stay over night on your trip to Aoshima? Find out here! 

For Tashirojima: You can stay over night on Tashiro-jima island. Please check out the list of guesthouses here!

Onegai Kaeru wants you to enjoy Japan trip.

 

If you are looking for more traveler"s info and can not find one, please let us know. We will try to help you with Japan Traveler Help Service (we work on hourly charge to arrange, book, find info you need). Feel free to contact us!

 

More articles like this: 

Wanna try free spa in the water fall or river? Click here to find out more! 

 

Have you heard of "Rabbit islands" and want to know how to get there, please click here!

  

Hungry in Japan? Find the unbelievably big and cheap food from our "where can we get full" list!

 

Onegai Kaeru, a group of passionate travelers, bring happiness to the world with its shopping support service and original super cute items!

 

Source: Ishinomaki city government website, Ozu City government website, Ajishima line website, Yomiuri News

 

 

Disclaimer: Even though we try to make the info as updated and accurate but the accuracy of the information herein is not guaranteed by us. If you have any uncertainty, please contact the information source.

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Write a comment

Comments: 7
  • #1

    Andrei (Friday, 03 April 2015 05:29)

    Thank you very much for your very useful information and especially for translation of timetables!!! We want to visit Aoshima but afraid that all tickets for ferry will be sold...( Is it possible to buy it in advance or arrange the private boat to Cats Island?

  • #2

    Kaeru Parcels (Friday, 03 April 2015 10:35)

    Hi Andrei,
    Thanks for your comment.
    Unfortunately we have no knowledge of any advance ticket booking available but if you call them directly (number written in the article) you might be able to find out more!
    All the best, KAERU PARCELS

  • #3

    Caroline Chin (Tuesday, 14 April 2015 13:09)

    Hi there! Thanks for the very comprehensible and detailed guide on how to get to Tashirojima!

    May I ask which bus I would need to take to from JR Ishinomaki station to get to Ishinomaki port, and how long the ride will take? Also, where this bus station is located along JR Ishinomaki station?

    Thank you very much, I appreciate your help!

  • #4

    andrea (Monday, 16 November 2015 00:47)

    hello, I was wondering at the port for aoshima - do people speak some english?

  • #5

    Sonia (Sunday, 29 November 2015 16:17)

    be wary that for Aoshima, they can cancel the boat 1 hour before departure depending on the tides/waves. Winter and rainy seasons are not good to go as more likely to get cancelled on whims notice. We went and could not go as boat was cancelled and found out cancelled almost all week. Iyo-Nagahama is a small town so did not see any English speakers. Doubt on the island either. Cannot buy tickets in advance, they are bought on the boat so you just wait in line to get on the boat.

  • #6

    Eric L (Thursday, 03 March 2016 09:42)

    @Caroline Chin: Your best bet is to take a taxi down there, it is a 5-10 minute drive (depending on traffic); otherwise it's a 30 minute walk. Tell the driver you want "Ajishima Line" and they'll know the port.

  • #7

    Emma Giannellier (Friday, 27 May 2016 13:02)

    Can you bring one baby one home.z