Fukuoka : Ainoshima Cat Island

Autumn 2018. A guide to Ainoshima cat island in Kyushu.

Ainoshima Cat island is a small island located 17 minutes by boat north of Fukuoka. This island is well-known for its large population of cats.

The main road goes in a loop around the island with a total distance of 5.4km. Cats are the main attraction there but besides that, visitors also go there to hike around the island, fishing and bird watching as many migratory bird species nest there. Ainoshima Island has a population of 300 humans and approximately 100+ cats. If you hike around the island, you can check out ancient stone structures that is dated as far back as 5th century. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to hike so I only got to check out the cats near the port.


View of Fukuoka City and Fukuoka Tower from the boat heading towards Ainoshima Island.


The Megane Iwa also known as “glasses rock” formation. While the black things floating on the water is an area where they farm pearl oysters.


A day trip with my chaperone and friend Natsumi. Natsumi is from Fukuoka.



Fishing boats berthed at the island.


A Korean girl playing with the cats near the port.


She even brought cat to feed the cats.


Students rushing back to school after lunch.


A drawing and short story depicting how the Koreans used to illegally cross over to Japan through Ainoshima Island.


A book about different cat islands in Japan.


Ainoshima cat island is not the top cat island as there are many more all over Japan. Some have a higher population of cats and more attractions. On some islands, you can actually stay overnight. Ainoshima is so small I didn’t see any hotel at all.


Lunch menu at one of the very few eating places there.


Many locals from Fukuoka travel to Ainoshima for fishing activities.


One of my favourite photos from Ainoshima.


A Japanese sparrow hawk known as “tambi” waiting to hunt.


The boss cat at Shingu port ferry terminal.



How to get there

To get there, take the train from Hakata station ( Fukuoka’s main station ) and get off at Nishitetsu Shingu Station. It’s a short local train ride of 40 minutes. From Nishitetsu Shingu Station, you can either take a local bus ( about 15 minutes ) to Shingu port or walk from the station ( about 30 minutes walk ). The local bus cost JPY 100 per ride. You only need about 2-3 hours there unless you plan to hike around the island. Note the ferry schedule as they are limited ferry per day. You don’t want to get stranded there as there is no hotel hotel there. You can check the FERRY SCHEDULE here. The ferry ride is about 17 minutes and cost JPY 480 per person return.

Click on the map for Google map location