Cats and Shisa on Taketomi Island
You can find many cats on Taketomi Island at Higashi Port and beaches. They are castrated and cared for by islanders, so they have no wild tendency. Even when I approached them from in front to take photos, they never tried to escape from me. Some of them were snuggling as close as possible to my legs. The crows on Taketomi Island were much wilder than the island’s cats. I witnessed two crows that were fighting to eat a snake on the road and another crow that caught a mouse and flew away into the woods. I didn’t see a crow digging into the trash bags in the village.
If you are a cat lover, you can stay more than one hour with Kondoi beach cats. If you happen to be allergic to cats, please stay away from the rest area of Kondoi beach. It takes 10 mins by car from Higashi Port to Kondoi beach and 20 mins by car from Higashi Port to Kondoi beach.
About 15 cats were living at Kondoi beach. When I visited there, they were always being fed, sleeping, having small turf wars or being stroked by someone. Cats are nocturnal, so they might be aggressive in the night.
The most beautiful cat was Star Sand’s shop cat at Kaiji beach. The cat and the owner of the shop took a nap together in the shop. I liked the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere of Taketomi Island.
I saw as many Shisa as cats on Taketomi Island that were acting as guardians of house and family. Each of them had a unique face and shape, staring at us from the top of the roof. Some of them were so humorous and funny, because in Japan we never saw the real lion in ancient times. So, people created the Shisa from mythology and their imagination. Each of them had very unique expressions.
Roofing tile craftsman used to create Shisa with leftover materials of tiles and plaster and placed them on the top of the roof. It was a way of showcasing their profession and skill.
I bought a replica of Isumiya Inn’s Shisa at a souvenir shop at Higashi Port. One of the guests at Izumiya Inn told me he was so happy to have bought a replica of Shisa. He even confessed he wasn’t able to make a decision on whether to buy a smaller or larger one. I agreed with the idea. I bought a smaller one and have put it in my flower pot on my small balcony.
When I started to take photos of Shisa, I could not stop. I tried not to enter the private property. You can also find handmade Shisa by artists at souvenir shops on Taketomi Island.