Visiting a Cat Island in Japan
Japan has several know cat islands and Tashirojima in Miyagi prefecture is one of them.
My husband and I visited the island during our trip around Miyagi prefecture during the Obon Holidays. The Japanese government was promoting this "Go To Travel Campaign" giving residents(except Tokyo) up to 50% discount on travel costs. This is the reason why we got 30% off on accommodation. Click here for more info.
From Ishinomaki we took Ajishima ferry which stops on the two ports in Tashiro Island. I would highly suggest you take the ferry from the Ajishima Line Chuo Port(map) if you wanna be able to sit down during peak hours. This is the ferry's first stop and the second stop is at the Ajishima Line Kadanowaki Port.
The cost per person is 2,500JPY for both ways.
Ajishima Line Ferry Time Table
We took the 9AM boat to Tashiro Island. (Tashirojima=Tashiro Island)
It takes around 40 minutes or so to reach the island. It's good to take the early ferry as it is less crowded and a little bit cooler during summer time. If go to the second floor of the ferry which is an open air seating, you may watch the seagulls flying along waiting for some fish snacks from the tourists.
We got off at the second port of Tashirojima called Nitoda port. We were told that more cats hang out here because it's the residential area of the island but since the Japanese summer is at its peak, the cats were all hiding in the shade taking naps.
The village looks like a ghost town. All the houses are run-down and the island seems uninhabited. But we were able to see some residents mostly elderly.
It only took us an hour or so walking from Nitoda port to Odomari port which is on the other side to the island. Along the way we found the cats chilling under the shade of the trees and bushes.
Some cats are quite friendly and some just like to mind their own business.
We passed by a stop over on the hill called Shima No Eki where you may rest, have a drink and play with more cats.
Then there is the cat shrine.
We passed by a bamboo forest along the way and and more napping cats.
I would also recommend spraying yourself with an anti-insect spray before the walking into the green area because there's a lot of mosquitos during summer time.
We finally arrived at Odomari port and guess what, we found more cats!
The locals feed the cats and there are signs everywhere prohibiting tourists from feeding the cats because of the risk of overfeeding.
We took the ferry back to Ishinomaki from Odomari port departing at 2:02PM.
Overall the trip was amazing. The cats were friendly. And even though there were less cats than expected, it's understandable because I'd also be hiding away instinctively if the weather was that hot.
There are only a few things I wish I did before going to the island.
Bring my own food because there are no convenience stores and cafe's are very limited, mostly closed.
Bring more water. I had a small one and it wasn't enough because of the heat.
Spray bug spay on or put on mosquito repellent.
Bring a change of clothes or a small towel for so much sweating.
Bring my own cat toys.
Click here to check how to reach the Cat Island from Sendai.