is Ainoshima / Cat Island recommended to visit while you’re in Kyushu?

is Ainoshima / Cat Island recommended to visit while you’re in Kyushu?

Hello to all cat (or animal) lovers out there! <(o^▽^o)ノ

So you came across my blog and want to check if it was worth to go Ainoshima (相島) or Cat Island while you’re having holiday in Kyushu. You probably already checked some blogs and websites out there telling you how cute the cats are, how easy to get there, how you will get a lifetime experience and so on. And they probably right. But you are on my page now, and I will tell you what’s on my perspective about the island. <( ̄︶ ̄)>

I have three important questions for you, so you can tell will it be worth to go Ainoshima or not.

  1. Do you claim yourself as a crazy-cat lady but you never seen real cats in your life ever?
  2. Will you be fine get approached by cats with skin problem or eyes problem or even half of her face covered by blood from an accident, without your heart wants to help them or drag a vet to the island?
  3. Are you allergic to house feline softly meowed at you for attention, with big eyes and fur oh-so-fluffy?

If you answered “yes” to those three questions, congrats! You will find Ainoshima as your heaven! Proceed now to check how to get there and yes it is so easy! ٩(。•́‿•̀。)۶

*some of the good-looking cats I found*

If you came here after my previous post “Day-2: When in Kyushu [Ainoshima n Owl Cafe]“, you probably will find me repeating the explanation about How To Go To Ainoshima or Cat Island. HOW TO GO TO AINOSHIMA / CAT ISLAND >> take train to Fukukodai-Mae > change bus bound to Shingu Port >> board a ferry to Ainoshima Island.

The journey will take about 1 hour from Hakata Eki-Mae / Hakata Train Station.

  1. Proceed to buy train ticket to Fukukodai-Mae for ¥280. You can pay with SUGOCA or other Japan’s transportation card (mine is ICOCA from Osaka), with the same fare. Both Hakata Eki-Mae and Fukukodai-Mae were in the same JR Kagoshima Line (Red Line).
  2. Board the train bound to Mojiko and alight at Fukukodai-Mae Train Station. It is 5 stops away from Hakata Station, and the journey was about 15 minutes.
  3. From Fukukodai-Mae Train Station, check out the bus schedule to go Shingu Port (please check the bus schedule below). The bus stop from Fukukodai-Mae Bus Stop to Shingu Port was located just in front of Fukukodai-Mae’ Family Mart. You can spot it easily.
  4. Board the bus bound to Shingu Port. Shingu Port is the last stop and the journey takes about 20 minutes, and ¥cost 100. This bus only accept cash, your transportation card will not be valid here.
    *bus schedule to Shingu Port*
  5. All the passengers must get off the bus at Shingu Port.
  6. Go inside the small building next to where the bus stop and queued for the ferry ticket machine. (Check the ferry schedule below!) The ferry schedule was divided like this;
    • Top left >> Ferry from Shingu Port to Ainoshima for 1st April to 30th September.
    • Bottom left >> Ferry from Ainoshima to Shingu Port for 1st April to 30th September.
    • Top right >> Ferry from Shingu Port to Ainoshima for 1st October to 31st of March.
    • Bottom right >> Ferry from Ainoshima to Shingu Port for 1st October to 31st of March.Ferry fare for adult for 1 trip was ¥460. Ferry fare for students and elderly for 1 trip was ¥230. Be careful to check the ferry schedule, do not missed the ferry because there is no hotel at Ainoshima island!
      *ferry schedule from and to Shingu Port and Ainoshima island*
  7. The ferry will take us to Ainoshima island in 20 minutes. You can enjoy the breezy wind on the second deck or chill at the indoor room on the first deck of the ferry.
  8. The ferry stop at Ainoshima port, and all passengers must get off the ferry.

When I went there on June 2017, I saw there were 2 or 3 local restaurants nearby Ainoshima port where you can have your meals there. I didn’t go and check the menu, so I am not so sure what are they selling. But one of them looked open and the rest was closed.

You can also find cats lazying around the port looking for foods. Some of them will approach you, and some of them just DGAF. You will also find some street signs saying “Do not feed the cats”.

To go back the main island, you must go inside the public toilet room. Not too far from Ainoshima port, you will see “Toilet” sign. Go inside, it is something like an aircon waiting room, where you can find elderly play with some cats while waiting for the next ferry to arrive. There is a ticketing machine at this waiting room. Be patient if the machine slowly responding to your ticket. The ferry schedule is the same as the schedule above.

Back to Shingu Port, board the same bus to Fukukodai-Mae Train Station for ¥100, cash. From that train station you already back to the main island and you can proceed to continue your next stop.

So do I still want to go to Ainoshima island? 

For me it was a one-time experience. The journey was fun, but the cats were not. I saw some of young kittens have eyes problem and couldn’t see very well. I got clawed by one of them. My finger was bleeding because the claw was very sharp. But still I wouldn’t blame the feral cat. It was my fault to get too close to them. (*/ω\)

I also saw some cats have skin problem. I literally want to pick up some of them and bathe them, give them proper attention and feed them properly. But the worst cat I saw was this one young dark-grey cat approached me at the eastern side of the island, with her face half bleeding probably from an accident. Me and my friend was hesitating to look at her, it was too scary! And the cat was following us because she can smell the food from my bag! This makes me upset and I really hope the government would take over and take care of these feral cats if they still want to ‘sell’ Ainoshima to the tourists.

So will I recommend Ainoshima to the tourists who would love to see cats?

Well. I will not recommend this cat island to anyone, but I will not stop them either. Go check the three questions I already gave you and decide yourself.

I went to Ainoshima with my friend on mid June 2017 with a high expectation after we read quite good comments on blogs and websites. We made friends with two other tourists we met from the island, and apparently four of us were very disappointed by what we saw there.

If you really love cats and want to play with them, you can consider cat cafe. I went to a cat cafe in Bangkok and you should try this one! Go check my previous story here. The cats are pretty, fur so soft, always in calm state and always purring. There are cat cafes in Fukuoka as well, maybe you can check there. Or you can go to Cat Saloon in Safari, nearby Beppu. I will explain you how to get there on Day-3: When in Kyushu or click here. \( ̄▽ ̄)/

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