Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cat Island, Japan

Tashirojima, Japan, is a small island located in Miyagi prefecture, north of Tokyo, and hundreds of cats inhabit this island. Koichi from Tofogu.com, one of my preferred blogs for learning Japanese, recently visited Cat Island and make a two-part documentary about his visit. I like this guy and his website, so here it is if you want to watch it:

TofuguTV Episode 1: Cat Island, Japan, Part I

TofuguTV Episode 1: Cat Island, Japan, Part II

You can read more about it and view beautiful pictures on those same pages. I also strongly recommend reading Tofugu if you want to find fun ways to learn and remember Japanese.

On a positive note, the island recently made the news after the big earthquake/tsunami in March- the island remained intact after the shake.

I like felines, and I'd like to go there! Who's in?

Image via Tofugu.com


Michelle {lovely little things} said...

Love cats!

Miss.Sarah said...

I'd love to get up to cat island!! It would be such a fun trip.

Peter Palmer said...

Hey Vivian, I can only hope to strive for your eloquence as I continue to force myself to write. Big fan of your blog.

The heat is brutal, but I'm still standing. :)

Ring of Fire said...

ahhh, I want to go to cat island!!

Miyan said...

i love cats! cat island sounds like so much fun!!!! esp if they look like the one in the picture, hes too hilarious! there are so many cats here too, but they are dirty, street cats....



Antonia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Antonia said...

Hey Vivian! I've been reading your blog ever since I met you (the night where we ate in the pedestrian underpass and the guys drew on their feet?) and it's always so nice to read about Japan.

During my stay in Japan I went to Cat Island. I don't know how accessible it is right now, considering you have to take a ferry from Ishinomaki which, afaik, was pretty much destroyed. Speaking of ferries: There are only 4 per day (schedule is available from the tourist information in Ishinomaki), so if you want to do a trip you'd probably have to take the first ferry around 9, because otherwise you won't get to spend a lot of time there.
My impression of the island was not that great to be honest. There weren't as much cats as I expected (or I was looking in the wrong areas...there were quite a lot at the port though) and those I saw were strays, so they were often dirty and some obviously were sick which made me sad. The people on the island are old, so there is a lot of trash lying around at the beaches, since probably no one is fit to keep everything tidy. And I was the only Gaijin on the island which got me some looks. On the plus side the coast is really beautiful and how they tried to make the cats a theme is quite cute. I would have loved to do some hiking around the island, but since I took the ferry in the afternoon I only had about 1.5 hours to look around.

Please note that I went off-season, so it might be nicer there in the summer when japanese tourists come as well. You can probably even sleep in one of the cat-houses, which seemed closed when I was there.

I guess speaking japanese will help a lot getting around there, especially for gathering informations how to get there etc. Thankfully the lady in the tourist information spoke some basic english to guide me to the right bus to get to the ferry ^^

If you haven't been there, I'd recommend visiting Ohkunoshima-jima too, which is close to Hiroshima. It's an island full of cute bunnies hopping around everywhere, waiting for tourists to feed them. It's a bit better accessible than cat island and not so far away from you.

Well, hope I didn't ruin your dreams about cat island with my post. On my travelblog I posted some pictures: (the entry itself is german, sorry!) http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/tombery/1/1272116488/tpod.html

There is also an entry about Ohkunoshima (Nr. 59) if you want to check out pictures of that one as well.

Vivian said...

Antonia- wow! Thanks for all the useful information on Cat Island (And rabbit island too...!!)- I really appreciate your insight.

Of course I remember that night in Takamatsu... wow. It seems like ages ago... it makes me so nostalgic to think back, as all those people left Japan, and I moved to Osaka.

Hope you're doing great on your side of the world. xx

World Tour Stories said...

Can't wait to get to Japan, love your descriptions of it.
We'll be sailing in from the SE coast end of next year hopefully..

Taru from the World Tour Stories. A couple of lovers sailing around the world.