Translated by Sandy Lau
Kagawa’s Cat Island Ogijima - Play With Cats And See Beautiful Art
This article introduces Ogijima Island in Takamatsu, Kagawa, where you can play with the cats and enjoy amazing public art. A cat boom has erupted in Japan, causing cat islands to gather attention.
Written by Ai Yoneda
Cats are very popular in Japan and are not only kept as pets, but cat cafes and cat-themed products are also exceptionally popular too. But when it comes to travel destinations, cat lovers are sure to want to visit one of Japan's cat islands!
This article will introduce Ogijima (Ogi Island) in Takamatsu, Kagawa, an island where you can come into contact with cats and enjoy works of public art.
What Are Cat Islands?
Cat islands are isolated islands inhabited by scores of cats. In Japan, many such islands exist and it is often the case that there are more cats than people on these islands.
We will be introducing Ogijima, a small island that has a circumference of four kilometers and houses a population of less than 200 people. Located in Takamatsu, Kagawa, you will arrive at the island from Takamatsu Port by ferry in 40 minutes via Megijima. The ferry costs 510 yen one way.
The majority of the island is made up of mountainous areas with hardly any level ground. As a result, there are many narrow, inclined and steep alleyways on the island that are complicated and intricate.
The cats and residents of Ogijima spend their lives comfortable and relaxed. The fact that you can see cats living in the wild while being at ease around people is also a charm of this island.
Different from Other Cat Islands! Enjoy Art on Ogijima
While there are several isolated islands called cat islands in the Seto Inland Seas, Ogijima has something that can only be enjoyed here.
You can appreciate art on Ogijima. That is because Ogijima is a venue of the Setouchi Triennale 2016 (*1). Various pieces of artwork are located in fourteen spots throughout the island and are on display both indoors and outdoors.
We will introduce a few of the works currently on display.
*1: The Setouchi Triennale is a modern art festival held with Takamatsu, Kagawa as its center. The 2016 festival was the third time the festival was held following the 2010 and 2013 festivals where Takamatsu Port and isolated islands of Takamatsu act as venues.
Ogijima’s Soul by Jaume Plensa
This creation is used as the Ogi Exchange Hall. Snacks are sold by locals inside the facility.
The roof is a design inlayed with characters from eight different languages. It reflects the water’s surface on a sunny day to create a lovely view.
Organ by Tomoko Taniguchi
This work is situated as if it were weaving its way between these houses. The color contrast between the white and blue of the pipes with the surrounding housing attracts the eye.
The “Organ” is actually an experience-type artwork that is slightly different from the rest. When both ends of the pipes are turned towards you like pictured, you can have a conversation with the person on the opposite side through these pipes.
Project For Wall Painting Alley, Ogijima Wallalley by Rikuji Makabe
“Wallalley” is a word formed by combining the words wall and alley together. This work is located on the outer wall of a private residence. You can catch sights of it here and there around the island.
There’s Still More! Recommended Spots on Ogijima
There are still more places other than those previously mentioned on Ogijima. First is Toyotamahime Shrine which holds the best viewing spot despite being on an island.
A white cat was sitting in front of the torii gates as if it were a gatekeeper.
When you pass under the torii gates and climb the steps, you will arrive on the grounds of the shrine. Then, when you turn around...
The Seto Inland Sea will stretch out before your eyes! The deep blue sea is extremely beautiful.
If you come to Ogijima, then you will definitely want to vist the Ogijima Lighthouse. It takes approximately 30 minutes one-way from the harbor to the lighthouse. It was almost as if our writer forgot about the flow of time when walking through the alleyways while listening to the cries of migratory birds.
Enjoy Your Trip To Ogijima!
Lastly, here are some things that you should remember and heed when visiting a cat island or isolated island such as Ogijima.
1. Narrow alleyways with several slopes and stone steps
It is best to wear shoes that are easy to walk in such as sneakers.
2. The number of ferries in a day is limited
Your entire itinerary will be affected if you are late in taking the ferry. Check the schedule beforehand.
3. It is standard to make advanced reservations at restaurants for lunch
If you did not make any reservations, then please purchase snacks before traveling to the island.
4. Feeding animals is prohibited
It is prohibited for tourists to feed the cats for the sake of the cats' health.
5. Bring home your trash
In order to preserve the beauty of the island, please take your trash home (to the mainland) with you.
Let’s abide by these manners and enjoy a visit to Ogijima.
Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Ogi
Nearest Station: JR Takamatsu Station or the Kotoden Kotohira Line at Takamatsu-Chikko Station
Access: Walk to Takamatsu Port from either Takamatsu Station or Takamatsu-Chikko Station and take the ferry from Takamatsu Port for 40 minutes
Telephone Number: 087-873-0002 (Ogi Community Center)
Website: Ogijima.info (Japanese)