Just off the coast of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture lies Tashirojima Cat Island, home to about a hundred people and many, many more cats.
Cats were brought to silk-weaving Tashirojima in the Edo Period to keep mice away from the silkworms. They’ve never left, even surviving the 2011 tsunami. The island has a central cat shrine (neko-jinja, or 猫神社). If you don’t do cats, there are also many hiking trails and great sea views. One tip of the island is home to a camping resort known as Manga Island.
To get to the island, catch a bus or train from Sendai Station to Ishinomaki Station, then proceed by taxi (quick), bus (few) or foot (10-15 mins) to the Ajishima Chuou ferry terminal. The trip to the island takes around 40 minutes and boats run 3 times per day. Be sure to double-check departure times!