Tashirojima, A Paradise For Cats

Posted on Mar 9 2014 - 3:28pm by Andre Tirtodipoero

Cats are very common animal. Almost everyone knows what cats are like. Even, cats have become one of the most favorite pets throughout the world. They are famous because they are cute and they can get along with people without bringing lots of problems. Maybe in your city, you can easily see stray cats on the streets or even in your neighborhood. Cats and human beings can live in harmony.

Tashirojima cat island

Talking about living in harmony, if you want to find the best portrait which describes how cats and human beings can live in harmony, you should visit Tashirojima, an island situated in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. It is a place where cats are treated with respect by people. Not only get respected, cats are even honored there.


Here’s a short history which will give you the explanation about what was going on between human beings and cats in Tashirojima that ended up with its condition and atmosphere at the moment. Long time ago, people living in the island of Tashirojima raised silkworms to make use of silk produced by them. Meanwhile, mice were so many. Their presence could be very dangerous for silkworms and the people. To protect silkworms, people kept cats. There were many fishermen too coming to the island. They sometimes stayed overnight. The cats often came to the fishermen begging for the fish.

TashiroJima island cats

Day by day, fishermen had more and more contact with the cats, and they observed the cats closely. Their observation led to better understanding of cats’ natural actions in predicting weather which could have been used to determine the dates and periods whether the fishermen should sail and fish. One day, fishermen accidentally killed a cat. They felt sorry for the death of the cat. They buried the cat and build a shrine onto its grave. The shrine still exists now, and it is one of the most visited icons in the island.

Cat-Shrine tashirojima cat shrine

Because cats are highly honored, now, there are lots of cats. Thousands cats live freely in Tashirojima. The total number of cats outnumbers the total number of people. Only fewer than 100 local people live there. Majority of them are above 65 years old. Can you imagine the difference in the number? That’s why this island is called “Cat Island”. In this Island, as if cats are the owner of the island, and people are the strangers or included as minority group. People there love and respect the cats. They feed the cats and let them live freely alongside them. As the additional information for you, people living in Tashirojima believe that cats are the symbol of good luck and wealth. You know now how important cats for the people there.


As the time goes by, this island has been becoming more and more famous throughout Japan and even throughout the world. This island attracts attention of tourists because the presence of thousands of cats. Tourists coming to this island spend their time with taking photographs of the cats, having their photograph taken when they pose with cats surrounding them, feeding cats, and walking around the island (the island is not so vast that we can walk throughout the island in a day).

cat rules

There are also fifty one monuments which have cat-like shapes for the tourists to visit. There are some buildings which were also designed based on the parts of cats’ bodies. From all the monuments and building, the legendary cat shrine is the one which has become the favorite for the tourists to visit.


When tourists visit the island, they must respect and honor the cats as well just the way the local people always do. Therefore, it is not allowed to bring dogs to the island because as you have already known, that dogs may not get along well with cats.

Such a unique place to visit, isn’t it? Especially if you are cat lovers, then once in a lifetime you should experience visiting Tashirojima: the “Cat Island”. Not only becomes the island of cats, this place becomes the paradise for cats.


Andre Tirtodipoero
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About the Author

This article is written by Andre Tirto Dipoero. Andre is a freelance writer with more than 2 years experience and he mostly interested in writing about traveling.