All Cats on Cat Island Sterilized - Aoshima island
All Cats on Cat Island Sterilized - Aoshima island in Ehime
Early last month (Sept, 2018) one of the twitter accounts of a local person on the island who takes many cat photos started talking about the sterilization of the cats. This way, we learnt about this.
All cats on Aoshima island are sterilized according to major media. The reason is that there are too few people on the island who can feed the cats.
There is a group which takes care of the cats on the island. The group is called "Aoshima Neko wo Mimamoru kai / a group which looks after Aoshima cats" which asked the Ozu city to support the all cat sterlization project in 2017. The city decided to put the project cost around 4000USD (the cost for the vets to stay and travel) in the city budget.
The reason behind all this is that there are too few people to take care of cats on that island.
How serious is the situation?
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 was shut down.
Early 2000 the cat population started to grow while the human population hit then new low, 50.
Just one two years ago, you only see 15 people( 4 fishermen and the rest retirees) on the island.
Today there are 9 people whose average age is 75 years old and more than 200 cats.
The number of cat is growing yet the number of resident on the island is decreasing even more. Therefore, the village of the island made decision to neuter all cats.
It has been mixed opinion about this. Some did not want, some wanted.
How sterilization carried out
On 2nd Oct, 2018 a foundation, called Dobutsu foundation, which offers fee sterilization to animals carried out this plan on this cat island. There 20 staff came to the island and set up as many as 130 cages. Each cage had some food for cats. When the cat enters the cage, the door of the cage closes.
On 3rd Oct, 3 veterinarians arrived at the island and carried out the tasks. 1 min to deal with one male cat and 15 mins, one female cat. On this day 172 cats (female 75, male 97) were treated.
On 4th Oct around 06:00AM, the treated cats were released after the staff checked their conditions.
Will Aoshima be non Cat island?
Now all cats do not reproduce due to this operation.
Normally the cat lives for 16-18 years. This means that there will be no cat on the Aoshima island after 18 years or so. (The oldest cat (called Creme Puff) in this world was 38 years and 3 days based on Guinness World Records.)
This is only possible 1) if nobody brings any cat to the island from now and 2) if really all cats are sterilized.
For 1), Aoshima has been so popular with so many tourists visiting and this has quite good business potential for the city "Ozu city" and the prefecture "Ehime" the island belongs to. The cat island brings a lot of money to many businesses esp. to the cities around it. In search of a new business opportunity to the community, these governments can change the direction and tries to make the island a cat island again. Who knows the government may bring a lot cats to the island again.
For 2) there is no 100% perfection in anything. It is announced that all cats were sterilized but it is possible that there are some survivors from this operation. The nature always finds a way.
This way, we think the Aoshima will continue to be a cat island.
Where is Aoshima cat island?
Cat Island 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. Also, there are several "cat islands" in Japan, other than these two. Please refer to our latest cat island list in Japan (updated from time to time).
Cat Island Aoshima
Aoshima - Island of Cats
Aoshima island ( 青島 ), Ozu-city, Ehime, is "cat island".
Located 13.5 km away from Nagahama port.
Due to the internet hype the island becomes one of the popular destinations for the cat lovers.
In 1942 there were 889 people recorded. 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).
Some details about this island population:
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.
1976 saw the last school close on this island.
No vending machine, no inn
Before you plan anything about this cat island in Ehime, you think about this. This island has NO inn, restaurant, vending machine. You find no bike no car. (Note: there are 2 vending machines and some guesthouses on Tashirojima island in Miyagi)
So how to get Aoshima?
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|
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)
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 30kg. )
Valid as of Aug, 2018( 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.
The boats may be cancelled. For details, here is the telephone number of the Port +81 893-52-2700.
Can you take a fisherman boat?
Because the official boat above is very popular there are many tourists who could not take the boat even they reached the port. There are some people who pay the fisher men to let them board their boat to travel to Aoshima.
The local authority warms it is NOT legal to take a fisher man's boat to reach Aoshima. You need to take the boat above.
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.
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)
This is where visitors are allowed to feed the cats on Aoshima island.
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 our separate articles: For Aoshima: You want to find out where you can stay over night on your trip to Aoshima? Find out here!
If you agree with foundation
If you agree with the policy of the Doubutsu foundation, you can donate something to this from this link.
Are these islands too hard to get based on your travel schedule? We feature more than 10 cat islands in Japan for you. Check this latest and full list of cat islands in Japan out!!
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!
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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.