Aoshima, Ehime

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Native name:
Iyo-Aoshima Island Aerial photograph.jpg
Aoshima in 1981
Aoshima is located in Japan
Location in Japan
LocationSeto Inland Sea
Coordinates33°44′10″N 132°28′55″E / 33.736°N 132.482°E / 33.736; 132.482Coordinates: 33°44′10″N 132°28′55″E / 33.736°N 132.482°E / 33.736; 132.482
Area0.49 km2 (0.19 sq mi)
Coastline4.2 km (2.61 mi)
Highest elevation90.8 m (297.9 ft)
PrefectureEhime Prefecture
CityŌzu, Ehime
Population6[1] (2019)
Ethnic groupsJapanese

Aoshima (青島, Aoshima), also known as Cat Island (猫の島, Neko no shima), is an island in Ehime Prefecture, Japan, known for its large number of feline residents. Felines have been reported by news outlets to outnumber humans by ratios between 6:1[2] and 10:1,[3] but as elderly inhabitants of the island have died, the ratio has greatly increased to almost 36:1.[note 1] Felines were introduced to combat rodents on fishing boats, but remained on the island and reproduced in large numbers.[5][6][2]

The feline inhabitants of Aoshima are fed by food donations from all over Japan.[7] The cats also eat the small creatures of the island and some food from visitors.

The island is roughly 1 mile (1.6 km) long.[citation needed] It was formerly part of Nagahama in Kita District, but as of 2005, is part of Ōzu.

The human population has decreased since sardine fisheries depleted and jobs moved to cities. As of February 2019, only six human residents live on Aoshima.[4]


In 1945, the island was a fishing village with a population of approximately 900.[5][2] In 2013, the island was estimated to be home to 50 residents.[citation needed] In 2018, Ehime Shimbun reported that the population had decreased to 13 with an average age of "over 75".[3] In 2019, The Asahi ShimbunGlobe reported that only six residents remained on the island.[1] The island attracts tourists who visit the cats and give them food.[2]

The feline population of the island has been reported as between 120 and 130 between 2015 and 2018.[3][5]

In February 2018, it was reported by Ehime Shimbun that all cats on the island would be spayed or neutered in order to lower the feline population as a response to the declining human population.[3] By October, 210 cats had been spayed and neutered, with another estimated 10 cats uncaptured that had been hidden by an old resident who opposed the program.[4]

Transport links[edit]

Aoshima is accessible via a ferry departing from in front of JR Iyo-Nagahama Station in Port Nagahama, which takes around 30 minutes.[8]

Gallery of cats[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of 2019, Asahi Shimbun Globe reports the population at 6,[1] and AERA dot reports that there were at least 220 cats on the island in October 2018.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Shiho (June 23, 2019). "世界中から人が集まる瀬戸内海のネコ天国「青島」で過ごす濃密な8時間" [Spending a dense 8 hours on cat heaven "Aoshima" in the Seto Inland Sea that people from all over the world come to visit] (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun Globe. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  2. ^ a b c d Meyers, Chris (March 2, 2015). "It's raining cats and tourists on a Japanese island". Reuters. Retrieved 2019-01-03.
  3. ^ a b c d Nakai, Yuuto (February 21, 2018). "ネコが多い「青島」全匹に不妊・去勢手術" [Cat Island Aoshima to Spay and Neuter All Cats] (in Japanese). Ehime Shimbun. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  4. ^ a b c Setouchi, Minami (February 22, 2019). "愛媛県・青島「猫の楽園」の未来 昨年の不妊・去勢手術後もトラブルがたえず…" [The future of "Cat Paradise" Aoshima, Ehime: Neverending problems after last year's spaying and neutering surgeries] (in Japanese). AERA dot. Retrieved 2019-10-12. 昨年10月には210頭の猫が不妊・去勢手術済みであることが確認されたわけだが、実はそのほかに、未手術の猫が10数頭ほどいたことが後になってわかった。不満を持つ島民がこっそり隠していたのだ。
  5. ^ a b c Kirkpatrick, Nick (March 3, 2015). "Cats outnumber people on this mysterious 'Cat Island'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  6. ^ Taylor, Alan (March 3, 2015). "A Visit to Aoshima, a Japanese 'Cat Island'". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  7. ^ "The Cats of Japan's Cat Island Eat Well Thanks to Food Donations". Life With Cats. 2016-02-29. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  8. ^ "Aoshima (Cat Island) – Ehime Travel Guide | Planetyze". Planetyze. Retrieved 2017-08-08.