Japan, Travel

Ainoshima, Cat Island

It’s no secret I’m a cat lover. I was delighted last year with the cats of SofiaPlovdiv, and Istanbul. We’ve also enjoyed the company of cats in Chiang Mai and Prachuap Khiri Khan. But this year, we’re living in South Korea and there are not many cats around, besides those in cat cafes. However, during our trip to Japan over the Christmas holidays, we actually visited a cat ISLAND!

There are 13 cat islands in Japan, others around the world, and also islands overrun by other cute animals. What a concept – it’s like a natural cat cafe! Many cats live on the island, and people (mostly fishermen) take care of them.

Ainoshima is not far from Fukuoka, but it still took us about two hours to get there (train-bus-ferry). We wanted to make sure not to miss our bus and ferry connections, so ended up spending a lot of time waiting. Here’s how we got there. There are other routes, but Hakata station was closest for us:

  • We first took a pleasant 15-minute train ride from Hakata station to Fukko-Daimae station.
  • Then we waited for community bus number 1, to get to Shingu port. The bus doesn’t run very often, and neither does the ferry (5 times a day in the winter, 6 in summer), so we got to Fukko-Daimae train station early and waited nearly an hour for our bus.
  • From Shingu Port, the ferry ride was about 20 minutes. We left at 2:40 pm, knowing we’d take the last ferry back to the mainland, at 5 pm. The ride was choppy on the way over, but much smoother on our way back. Here’s the ferry timetable if you plan on going: Getting to Ainoshima.

So here are my pictures! First, close-ups of the cats. A you can see, they’re very friendly and not afraid of people!

And now, enjoy the island! Beautiful scenery, flowers, and happy tourists:

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