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Haven't heard of Tashirojima? It's the purfect destination for any curious traveller

Easyvoyage logo Easyvoyage 3/05/2017 Rosie Giorgi

More cats than people Haven't heard of Tashirojima? It's the puuurrfect destination for any curious traveller The cat is highly symbolic in Japanese culture. A common depiction of the cat is the maneki-neko; literally translating to mean 'the beckoning cat'. It is thought to be a symbol of good luck and good fortune, and nationwide you will encounter figurines of a sitting cat with a raised and bent paw. Another Japanese adage known as the nekomata, states that when a cat lives to a certain age, it grows another tail and can communicate with humans in a comprehensible language.

The island of Tashirojima serves as an embodiment of the cultural significance of cats in Japan. Aptly known as 'Cat Island', Tashirojima boasts a population comprised of more cats than humans. In the past, the islanders bred silkworms, and cats were kept in order to keep the number of mice at bay, but today the human population has fallen from 1,000 to less than 100 people.

In line with traditional Japanese belief, the cats are thought to bring good luck to the island, and the residents see it as a quasi-vocation to feed and look after their feline friends. Although adopting individual cats as pets is generally seen as appropriate, they are most definitely well-cared for en masse.

The rule stands that no dogs are allowed on Tashirojima, but it would be hard to imagine an island overrun by cats would be conducive to an ideal environment for canines. Although there haven't been any remarkable indications of the cats bringing the island good luck, Tashirojima's unusual characteristics have drawn attention from across the globe, with tourism subsequently on the rise there. You could even dare say that the island is beckoning visitors, much like the maneki-neko.

Japan, Tohoku Region, Miyagi Prefecture, Ishinomaki, Harbour in Tashirojima Island

Japan, Tohoku Region, Miyagi Prefecture, Ishinomaki, Harbour in Tashirojima Island
© Getty Images

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