Home to more than 120 feral cats, Aoshima Island has no stores and no cars. It has one ferry, running twice per day, carrying a limit of 34 daily visitors, as Reuters reported.
“I seldom carried tourists before,” ferry captain Nobuyuki Ninomiya told the Japan Daily Press. “Now I carry tourists every week, even though the only thing we have to offer is cats.”
“Cat Island,” as the locals call it, was once home to 900 people in 1945. Today, it’s home mostly to pensioners who didn’t seek work elsewhere after World War II.
The cats were first brought to the island to deal with the mouse population that would swarm fishing boats. According to the Japan Daily Press, the feline population began to increase about a decade ago when the human population declined and there wasn’t anyone to keep the cats from breeding. Today, as few as 10 of the cats are neutered.
“There is a ton of cats here, then there was this sort of cat witch who came out to feed the cats, which was quite fun,” 27-year-old visitor Makiko Yamasaki told Reuters. “So I’d want to come again.”
Aoshima Island is not the only cat island in Japan. Here’s a list.