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The Rabbit Island of Japan

Though to most of the world the Easter Bunny only reigns every once a year, in Okunoshima, Japan, rabbits reign all year round. The island is unofficially known as Usagishima, Rabbit Island, and for an obvious reason. The island is home to hundreds of the fluffy, long-eared creatures that will crowd around tourists seeking for food.

Animal lovers take ferries to the small island from the Inland Sea off the coast of the Hiroshima prefecture to see the bundles of cottontails. Some would even lay on the ground to be ‘attacked’ by a flock of fur balls.

Rabbit Island (1)
Image credit: Mamechom

The island was mostly unknown until a few years ago but is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination thanks to the power of sharing on social media sites. Thousands of rabbits reside on the island and have gradually lost their fear of humans whom they now go to for food.

 Despite the fluffy welcoming party that greets you the moment you arrive on the island, Okunoshima is also home to the Okunoshima Poison Gas museum which opened in 1988. The poison gas museum is one of the many ‘peace’ museums scattered all across Japan. The museum displays and preserves the memory of events during Japan wartime history.

Rabbit Island (2)
Image credit: Sveagal

Okunoshima was initially an island producing a variety of materials such as Mustard Gas. This was because of its geographical location where it is far from Tokyo and hidden from the mainland in case of any accidents. Following Japan’s defeat, the factories in Okunoshima were destroyed.

The Okunoshima Poison Gas Museum is relatively small and only consists of two rooms, but the displays hold big meanings. Items such as equipments used in the factory, worker diaries and historical photos are displayed throughout the museum with English description to cater to international visitors.

The island can be easily explored by foot in under a day. Alternatively, you can rent a bike from the nearby hotel to tour the island, provided that you don’t get stopped by the hundreds of rabbits that could block your way.

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