Are you a cat person? Then you’ll love this…
Aoshima island (青島), one of 11 “cat islands” located in Japan, gets its nickname from the fact that the feline population outnumber their human counterparts by a healthy 6 to 1 ratio. The islanders originally introduced the cats in order to stop the mice population from getting out of control, but in the end it was the cats that ended up overrunning the island. For some, this would be a nightmare, but for others, this is an excellent reason to hop on a ferry from the mainland and spend the day with the hordes of friendly (as long as you have food) felines!
After becoming more and more popular thanks to the internet, tourists from all over have been flocking to see the famous cats for themselves. The only ferry from the mainland goes twice a day, with a tiny limit of only 34 visitors, so plan ahead if you’re counting on getting a spot. Take advantage of the many feeding grounds where you can satisfy the hungry cat mob and bring your camera to remember the occasion. You’ll find cats lounging in abandoned buildings, prowling through the alleys and napping on the windowsills – you’re surely being watched (it’s the cats that run the island, not the people, remember?).
The island used to have roughly 900 inhabitants back in 1945 but has sharply declined – and the cats have taken over! There are currently only 15 permanent residents left on the island, and the many tourists that flock to see the spectacle threaten to overwhelm the largely elderly population.
If you can’t make it all the way to Aisomoa to see the cats for yourself, take a look at these photos from Thomas Peter who made the journey himself. Enjoy!