Aoshima is an island located inside of Ehime Prefecture, technically belonging to the town of Nagahama in Ozu City. Floating in the Seto Inland Sea, this island has gathered lots of attention not only from within Japan but also from overseas. Aoshima is also referred to as “Nekojima” (Cat Island), and the reason for this is that on this tiny island there are over 150 cats living together with the island-dwellers.
By the way, if you check the island on Google Street View, you will see the cats all over the place!
From JR Iyo-Nagahama Station it’s just a 2 minute walk to the boarding area for an ocean liner that will take you to Aoshima. There is a parking lot at the boarding area for people visiting by car. After about 35 minutes on the boat, Aoshima will come into view.
It is important to note that while there are usually 2 boat trips per day to Aoshima, the island only allows a certain fixed number of people to land on the island per day. This means that if the first boat to Aoshima has a lot of people on it, there may be no second boat trip that day. If you want to guarantee that you can get onto the island, we recommend you get on the first boat trip that runs on the day of your visit.
■Landing on the cat paradise of Aoshima!
Once you arrive at Aoshima, there are cats as far as the eye can see! It’s exciting to see that the rumors are true. We rode on a boat with a young lady, an elderly lady, and a young man who were all smiling as they took lots of pictures of the cats with digital cameras and smartphones.
Cats of Aoshima are very friendly.
Not only the cats, but the islanders are very friendly as well, shining as they say “It’s great that so many people want to come see the cats. Both Japanese people and foreigners are always smiling when they come here.”
The people living on the island are helping to foster the island of Aoshima, and are commonly seen helping raise the cats.
■Please obey the island rules! Only feed the cats at the feeding locations!
On the west side of the island there are “cat feeding locations”, but there is one important rule that you need to follow here.
When you are taking photos on the island you may be tempted to feed the cats, but we request that you only feed the cats in the designated “cat feeding locations”.
The moment you feed the cats, you will see even more cats show up out of nowhere wanting to be fed.
It’s almost impossible to take a picture without a cat in it. They always find a way to get in the picture frame.
The island is called “cat island” but of course there are also people living here. Please be careful that you do not walk into someone else’s private residence.
It’s a common occurrence for people to follow the cats around without thinking and accidentally walk into someone’s house.
We had so much fun looking around Aoshima that before we knew it, it was almost time to head back home.
We really wanted to stay longer, but we’ll come again some other time. We waved goodbye to the kitties and left the island.
When you visit, we hope you enjoy seeing the cat’s behaviors and expressions as well as the beautiful island scenery.
Address/ Aoshima, Nagahama-cho, Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture
Boat Liner “Aoshima”
Boat times/ First trip: 8:00 (from Nagahama Port) 8:45 (From Aoshima)
Second trip: 14:30 (From Nagahama Port) 16:15 (From Aoshima)
Boat boarding fee (one-way trip)/ Adults (12 and older) 680 yen, Children (6-12 years) 340 yen
Closed days/ Boat trips may be cancelled depending on weather conditions.
Parking lot/ Available (In front of boarding area)
Setouchi Finder Photojournalist/ Hineno Futoshi
To attract more visitors to the region by introducing its outstanding beauty, the Association is promoting the Setouchi brand through various media by having local photojournalists, local people, and others who appreciate “the most beautiful inland sea” work together.
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