Tashirojima Island is located in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, and is known as “Cat Island” because the local residents worship cats as gods. The island used to produce silk cloth, and the locals bred cats to control rats.
There are only 70 people on Tashirojima Island, but there are hundreds of cats, and there are more cats than people, which is one of the characteristics of the island. As a cat island known far and wide in Japan, dogs are not welcome on Tashiro Island, so boarders are forbidden to bring dogs to the island except for working dogs such as guide dogs for their work. There is a cat shrine on the island, dedicated to the cat god, and it is said that fishermen used to predict the weather by observing the behavior of cats. On weekdays, Tashirojima Island is quite quiet and only cats are seen roaming around, but on holidays, tourists flock to the island to see the cute and colorful cats, and also attracts photographers to capture the different postures and charming moments of the cats.
There is a flower cat on Tashiro Island, black and white, named Black Jack, and according to the urban legend, if you touch it, you will be lucky for a whole year. If you come to this island and happen to come across this cat, be sure to pet it and good luck will stay with you for the whole year.
How to get there
(1)1515 minutes from JR Ishinomaki Station (to Ishinomaki Central Depot)
40 minutes from Ishinomaki Central Depot (to Omari Port or Nitoda Port)
(2)14 minutes from JR Ishinomaki Station (Take Miyako Bus “Yamashita Kadonowaki Line” from Ishinomaki Ekimae to Kadonowaki 2-chome bus stop (about 14 minutes). From the Kadonowaki 2-chome bus stop, walk 5 minutes to the Ishinomaki Kadonowaki Departure/ Arrival point. From Ishinomaki Kadonowaki Departure and Arrival Point)
35 minutes from Ishinomaki Kadonowaki Departure/Interchange (to Odomari Port or Nitoda Port)
All of my family members are animal lovers, especially cats, so we had been planning to visit for several years, but due to Corona, it was difficult to make plans. We took the opportunity to visit when things began to settle down a bit. First, I went ashore from Omari Port and had a few cats play with me, then I climbed up a steep hill and visited Neko Shrine, the island’s station, and Nitoda Port in that order.
I was healed by many cats at the island’s station, and I was touched by the warm hearts of the people at the station, so I had a very fulfilling time. I was a little disappointed that I did not see many cats near Nitoda Port, perhaps due to the high temperatures that day.
I was also deeply moved by the love the islanders have for their cats, but I had mixed feelings when I heard that the population is decreasing due to the aging of the islanders. I sincerely hope that the current environment will be maintained for the sake of the cats, and that the cats will be protected.