Tashirojima, more commonly referred to as the Cat Island, is a very small island that belongs to Tohoku Prefecture and has more cats than humans as it’s inhabitants! Locals believe that feeding cats will bring you wealth and good fortune so come on and visit the Cat Island to treat yourself with a brighter future!
There are two interesting villages on the island, the are respectively named Oodomari and Nitoda. It is highly recommended to visit them since you can try some great fresh food such as the oysters! You can also visit the ‘Manga Island’ near Nitoda, that area actually provides very cute houses for accommodation and it is totally worth to stay there for a night or two!
There is a lot more to do than just feeding the cats, in fact you can visit a very famous Cat Shrine which the locals call Nekojinja! This shrine is located right in the middle of the island between the two villages (Oodomari and Nitoda).
Traditionally, in the past, the inhabitants were raising silkworms for silk and kept the cats in order to keep the mice number down as mice naturally feed on silkworms. However, according to the legend, this shrine was built because of a fisherman who was interpreting cats’ actions as predictions of weather and fish patterns. He accidentally killed one cat with his net and decided to bury it and build a shrine for cats, as he felt sorry and guilty for that accident.
Take the Ajishima Line bus from Ishinomaki Station, it will bring you to the front of Ajishima Ferry Terminal. It takes approximately one hour to reach the island and you can purchase your ticket on board. There are only three departures a day so please don’t forget to visit the information centre for timetable and other details!