Okunoshima is a tiny island located in the Inland Sea of Japan. It lies between Hiroshima and Shikoku. The island used to be a confidential military location manufacturing poison gas for chemical warfare during world war II. Now, it’s completely swarming with cute, fluffy bunnies. They are the main inhabitants of the island. The island has been reincarnated as a tourist attraction and is known as "Us agi Jima" and widely as "Rabbit Island," thanks to contribution of large population of wild rabbits.History:
Between 1929 and 1945 the Island was a chemical warfare production site. The Imperial Japanese Army produced poisonous gas on the island. The island was chosen for its isolation, conducive to security. It was far from major cities likeBetween 1929 and 1945 the Island was a chemical warfare production site. The Imperial Japanese Army produced poisonous gas on the island. The island was chosen for its isolation, conducive to security. It was far from major cities like Tokyo for the safety in case of disaster or accident. The island was even erased from maps. No one knew what the plant was manufacturing as everything was kept covert. At the end of the war all the documents concerning the plant were burned as well as all the gas was disposed either by dumping, burning, or burying it.Where did the rabbits come from?
According to some sources, the rabbits were brought to the island to experiment the effects of the poison. They were released by workers as the factory got closed when World War II ended.Likewise, others sources state that a group of schoolchildren were on a field trip, when they brought eight rabbits in 1971 and left them on the island. Regardless, the original bunnies of Okunoshima and their successive generations of offspring thrived in their predator-free environment.Things to do:
Today the 700,000 square-meter island is habitat to more than 300 rabbits. They roam freely, earning the nickname of Usagi Shima commonly known as Rabbit Island. Though the rabbits are wild but they are used to humans and will come close to visitors in search of food, and hop on to laps of the feeders. Everyone is allowed to pet and feed the rabbits but dogs and cats are prohibited in an effort to preserve the bunnypopulation on the island. Foods for rabbits are sold at the island's only hotel named Kyukamura Okunoshima resort hotel for ¥100 a cup. Since the knowledge of the island’s furry residents spreaded on the Internet hotel has recently seen a steep increase in visitor. Now the Island has a golf and tennis court, beautiful beached, a camping site and observation deck offering views of the island.
If you manage to save some time from watching the rabbits, you can also take a walk to the Visitor Center. It’s free of charge and open from 9:00 to 16:00 (closed on Wed, Jan-Feb: also on Thu).A few steps away from the visitor center on the way to a small lighthouse from where you can experience a breathtaking view of the beautiful ocean.
While most visitors come to the island to see the bunnies yet the Island’s poison gas legacy hasn't ended. Okunoshima is also home to the Poison Gas Museum which was established in 1988, in order to aware as many people as potential to the dreadful truths about poison gas.Access:
Access Via Hiroshima: Most of the people approach the island from Hiroshima prefecture. We can take a Bus or Train to get to JR Tadanoumi Station. From JR Hiroshima Station it takes nearly 2 hours. From JR Mihara Station it only takes about half an hour to reach JR Tadanoumi Station. Buses are available too but they are usually less frequent than trains. The ferry terminal is few steps away from the JR Station. A one-way ticket from Tadanoumi to Okunoshima costs 300 yqen. The ferry ride only takes about 12 mins.- Nikhil