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The Legendary Cat Island

Tashirojima in Ishinomaki is cat paradise

150 years ago a fisherman was hammering away at some rocks on an island off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. One stone from the bunch suddenly rolled off and crushed a cat nearby. The fisherman felt so sorry that he enshrined the cat, covering it with a padded coat. Following the act, the islanders enjoyed a large and long-lasting fishing catch. The shrine where the cat was laid to rest is 0.8km from Odomori Port. It is a focal point of Tashirojima Island, better known as Cat Island.

It is often said the 100 or so cats here outnumber the human residents. The cats on the island seem to be very quiet and gentle, and not at all afraid of people. There are no dogs and the local residents support their feline friends. As such, the cats have a personality that is a mix of domesticated cat and street cat. Cute yet slightly wild, these cats have attitude.

Not a cat fan? Check out Fox Village in Zao.

Getting there

Access: 40-minute ferry ride from Ishinomaki Port (石巻港)via the Ajishima Line (網地島ライン).

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