Ishinomaki Fishing
& Cat Island Tashirojima

You can see cats everywhere on Cat Island

You can see cats everywhere on Cat Island

Along with Ishinomaki’s fresh, delicious seafood, the famous “cat island” Tashirojima in the Tohoku region has also become a popular sightseeing spot in recent years.

With around 50 human residents and 150 cats, Tashirojima is appropriately called “Cat Island” because it has more cats than people. Here you can see cats lazily walking around and sleeping everywhere you go.

The main goal of tourists who visit the island is to find a “cat paradise!” I also noticed that fishermen and cats have an unexpectedly close relationship here.

  • A docked Tashirojima Ajishima Line ferry
  • Nitoda Harbor, Tashirojima

Tashirojima is around 15km away from Ishinomaki, and can be reached in around 50 minutes on the Ajishima Line ferry. The island has two harbors called Otomari and Nitoda. Otomari Harbor was closed for repairs when I went, so the ferry docked at Nitoda Harbor.

Cat Shrine

If you get a chance to go to Tashirojima, remember to visit the “cat shrine” in the middle of the island. You can reach it in around 30 minutes on foot from Nitoda Harbor. This shrine is dedicated to the “God of cats,” and the islanders go there to pray for large catches of fish.

A carefree cat laying down to rest on the road

A carefree cat laying down to rest on the road

  • The cats aren’t shy around people, so tourists can take all the photos they want
  • Taking it easy

Apparently, fishermen long ago used to judge fishing conditions based on the behavior of cats, and this custom was intimately linked with local life. This is why people here came to treasure cats so much.