Right off the coast of the Ishinomaki Peninsula sits a small Island called 田代島Tashirojima. What makes this island special is a large number of cats that live on the island. The estimated ratio of cats to humans is about 6 to 1. Considering that there are over 80 people living on the island, there are about 600 cats.
The majority of the cats on the island are feral, but because of the nature of the people that visit the island to see them, the cats are very tame (There are a few that I wouldn’t recommend petting due to their demeanor and/or skittishness). There is an area known as Manga Island where the cats congregate after the boats reach the island. This (Manga Island) is where they would prefer you feed the cats as opposed to down near the harbor. Manga Island has a special area where you can stay in Cat Cabins. (Around ￥8000 a night, and you must book through the Ishinomaki Tourism Department. The Cat Cabins are closed from November 1st – April 1st)
On Tashirojima there is a shrine dedicated to cats specifically. The Cat Shrine or 猫神社 Neko Jinja is located near the center of the island. It is a little bit of a hike, but nothing too strenuous as the island only measures 2km in diameter. The cat shrine has an interesting story as well. In short, during an unfortunate accident involving the death of a cat near the harbor, the cat was enshrined at this location. Now people bring cat toys and Maneki Neko to the shrine to pray.
You meet cats all over Tashirojima whether they are bathing in the sunlight,
greeting you near the harbor,
or just lounging at Manga Island.
Planning on visiting yourself? Not a problem. Here is a video guide on the island as well as the necessary steps it takes to reach it. (It can be a little confusing).
If you want to visit a cat island, and you are in Miyagi Prefecture, I highly recommend visiting this wonderful island.
My name is Brian with Gwedo TTJ. I do videos and such on North East Japan. Tashirojima is one of the many places we have traveled to on our journey through Tohoku. If you would like to find out more, visit our page at: https://gwedottj.wordpress.com/SaveSave
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