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A Day Trip to Ainoshima: Fukuoka’s Cat Island

Aside from the many resident cats, there are also lovely coastal views, shrines and even some impressive rock formations. My recommendation? Set aside a whole day for this because time flies when you’re having fun!

Team JJ

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If you’re even a little bit of a cat person, it will interest you to know that Japan has a number of ‘cat islands’ off its coasts. Over time, the number of cats on the island has accumulated, meaning the human residents have plenty of furry friends to keep them company.

Island scenes
Peaceful scenes on the cat island

Eight kilometres off the coast of Fukuoka, Ainoshima Island is one such place. With the warm sun in the sky, a gentle sea breeze and myriad cats circling your feet, it’s hard not to feel relaxed there. And, as it’s just under 2 hours from Hakata Station, it makes an ideal day trip from Fukuoka City. Here’s our guide to visiting Ainoshima Cat Island.

The facts about Ainoshima

The island is around 8km from the mainland, connected by a ferry from Shingu Port. It’s a small place, only 5km around, so you can definitely walk a loop and hit all the sights. Aside from the many resident cats, there are also lovely coastal views, shrines and even some impressive rock formations. My recommendation? Set aside a whole day for this because time flies when you’re having fun! 

Nyan train celebrates the cat island
Spotted the cat train on my walk to Shingu Port.

Food-wise, there are a couple of cafe/restaurant options as well as a small grocery store, but it’s always a good idea to have a backup rice ball tucked away for emergencies. Check out this map of all the key points of interest on your Ainoshima journey to get acquainted.  

Note: make sure you don’t miss the last ferry home as accommodation on Ainoshima is very limited: Marumiya Ryokan (丸己屋旅館) [phone only] and Stay House Kashi. In this article, we’ll be going heavy on the logistics because we don’t think you’ll need any help enjoying time with cats once you’re there. 


(You can read the rest of the article at this link. This article was first published by Team JJ on DATE. Check here for deeper and unique insights into visiting Japan, including wellness, travel, cuisine and more. Find us on Instagram and on Facebook.)

Author: Team JJ

Tokyo based Japan Journeys delivers the inside scoop on travel destinations, tips and experiences. Visit their website to discover more about Japanese culture, great travel itineraries and the very best things to do in Japan.