Cat Island Japan: “Tashiro-Jima” Where Protected by “Neko-gamisama”

Cat Island Japan — there are more than 20 cat islands in Japan. What they have in common is cats can rely on fish food and a lot of sunshine. Cats became the center of the sightseeing in most islands, which is no wonder when we think about the craze over kittens on the internet. Let’s look at some stories of Tashiro-Jima Island where is said to be the original cat island in Japan and enchanting pictures of cat residents!

Cat Island Japan: Tashiro-Jima Where Protected by Neko-gamisama

Tashirojima “Cat Island” – Ishinomaki, Japan

Tashirojima “Cat Island” — Ishinomaki, Japan (DRINK MICRO )

Tashiro-Jima (also called Cat Island) is a small island off the mainland (Miyagi prefecture) of Japan with an enormous population of feline. The population (humans) of the entire island is a few hundred people, mostly elderly. In fact, cats outnumber humans on the island. They believe that feeding the cats delivers both good fortune and wealth to humans and cats as well.


A small cat walking

A small cat walking (Some Pets!)

Two kittens

Two kittens (Some Pets!)

When people first settled in this island, they began silkworming. Some cats were brought to protect the silkworm crop and to fight off the pest. The cats were well fed naturally and they had plenty of time to breed, so they were multiplied rapidly.

An exploring cat

An exploring cat (Some Pets!)

Two Cats Walking

Two Cats Walking (ABADIA DIGITAL)

In the later period of Edo-era (1603–1868), people in this island began to work on setting net fishery to catch tuna. Fishermen who came from the mainland and islanders worked together on this fishery, they needed to arrange accommodation for fishermen to stay on the island. A lot of simple huts where you can work and stay were constructed. Leftover from fishermen’s dinner started attracting cats.

Three Cats Waiting for the Food

Three Cats Waiting for the Food (NAVER)

As fishermen and cats got closer to each other, fishermen were able to predict the weather by watching cats behaviors closely. That was truly valuable for their business.

Dozens of cats are looking at what fishermen are doing with great anticipation at the bay

Just can’t wait… (NAVER)

A cat with a fish

A cat with a fish (Pinterest)

One day, one of the fishermen picking up the rocks for weighing the net for fishing, rocks collapsed and it hit a cat and killed.

A cat licking his muzzle

A cat licking his muzzle (Some Pets!)

A cat and a blowfish

A cat and a blowfish (WAKEI)

A fisherman’s boss was terribly distressed and saddened by the cat’s death, he buried the cat respectfully. Then…

A cat rolling

A cat rolling (Some Pets!)

Sunset and a cat

Sunset (Some Pets!)

After that, fishermen began catching loads of fish and had no accidents at sea anymore. They believed the buried cat became Neko-gamisama (Cat God) and protect fishermen and bring prosperity.

Two cats cuddling up, one yawning

Two cats cuddling up, one yawning (Some Pets!)

Two Cats Nuzzling

Two Cats Nuzzling (Some Pets!)

Since then, people took care of cats with even more respect to this day. There’s a cat shrine almost at the center of the island, enshrined Neko-gamisama that is a guardian god for a good catch and safety at the sea.

Cat Island Japan Cats

Cat Island Japan Cats: ひょっこりひょうたん田代島の夏 (Woods CanyonⅡ)

Mother cat and kitten

Mother cat and kitten (Some Pets!)

You can’t bring any dogs to the island since it’s taken as a natural enemy for cats. The island is pretty small, you can walk all the way around with 2 to 3 hours. From the gazebo which is located in the west, you can have a wonderful view of the sunset on the ocean. Hope this island will be protected by <>qNeko-gamisama for many years to come; both cats and humans live happily together.


田代島 (Wikipedia)
 「猫島」田代島だっちゃ! (社団法人田代島にゃんこ共和国)
 【猫島】猫好きにはたまらない!猫島として名高い田代島の情報まとめ (Naver)

Originally published at Johnny Times.

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