Source: YouTube

Ainoshima Cat Island

It’s no secret that just being near cats can be therapeutic. Cat cafes in Japan are great places to relax and play with cats indoors, but about interacting with them in naturally while enjoying the beautiful scenery this country has to offer? There are two islands in Japan where cats roam free and this has attracted many visitors. The cats have boosted the local economy with tourists eager to make some new feline friends, a phenomenon that’s been called nekonomics (or “cat-nomics”). Tashirojima in Miyagi Prefecture is Japan’s east-coast cat island, and to the west is Ainoshima in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Ainoshima is a tiny, tiny island not far from the bullet trains at Hakata Station with a population of only about 300 people… and about 100 cats! You can catch a scenic 50-minute ferry ride from Shingu Port. One way tickets are 460 yen for adults and 230 yen for children.

Even if you don’t see any signs around, it’s recommended that you not feed the cats. The precious residents are well taken care of and are capable of hunting for some extra snacks. You may notice bottles of water placed outside of homes. These are called nekoyoke and are cat deterrents placed to spook cats away when they see reflections

The island is quite small, and you can walk the entire island if you’re feeling adventurous. There is more to the island than the cats, including restaurants, shrines, hot springs, and the Ainoshima Stone Tumuli which is over 1,500 years-old.

How many cats can you find on Ainoshima?

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By - grape Japan editorial staff.