News Analysis

Aoshima: Island Where Cats Outnumber Humans

Aoshima might be the most famous cat island in Japan.

Its nickname “Cat Island” is no exaggeration because there are only 15-20 residents on the island but more than 120 cats, about 6 times the human population.

Aoshima is a 1.6 km long island located in the Ehime Prefecture of southern Japan. 

Aoshima Island is one of about a dozen “cat islands” around Japan, small places where there are significantly more feline residents than people.

In Aoshima more than a hundred cats prowl the island, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in the quiet fishing village.

Cats outnumber humans six to one on the island.

Recently becoming popular online, tiny Aoshima has seen a steep rise in tourist visits, overwhelming the handful of permanent residents.

Cats were originally introduced on ships because the fisherman had to deal with a rodent problem.

But the cats then remained on the island and reproduced, thus the population increasing almost exponentially.  

However, Aoshima Island is not a tourist spot. There are no cars, hotels, restaurants, or even vending machines on the island.

Residents there are mostly elders.

They won’t turn away the visitors who want to get close to the cats, but are not allowed to feed the cats because they are fed by the residents every day.

It’s not a spot with convenient transportation as only two rounds of ferries go to the island per day.

However, it might be a destination to try and visit for the extremely keen cat lovers.  

Titilayo Kupoliyi

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