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Ōkunoshima (大久野島): The Rabbit Paradise of Japan


Konnichiwa!~

When we were in Japan, we were lucky enough that the training coordinators included a trip to Takehara-shi in the itinerary, especially Ōkunoshima (大久野島) or more known as Rabbit Paradise or Rabbit Island (Usagijima). 

It was part of our site visit where we will be learning about how the island where the poison gas factory is located and had been one of the military bases of Japan prior World War II turned into a tourist spot and a haven of thousands of cute little bunnies.

In 1925, the Imperial Japanese Army Institute of Science and Technology started a top secret program to create chemical weapons despite the fact that the country is signatory to the 1925 Geneva Protocol which banned the use of chemical warfare. The plant in Ōkunoshima (大久野島) was built around 1927-1929 and it produced mustard gas and tear gas.

To maintain its secrecy, the island has been removed from some maps. After WWII, the factories were closed and abandoned, documents that pointed to the island were destroyed and people were told to keep it as a secret. In 1988, the Ōkunoshima (大久野島) Poison Gas Museum was opened.

It is for this reason and many others that our team was taken to the island to learn from the transformation of a once-destructive island into a tourist spot and rabbit haven.



How to get to Ōkunoshima (大久野島)

Ōkunoshima (大久野島) is an island in Japan which is located in Takehara-shi, Hiroshima-ken. To get to the island from Hiroshima-shi, one needs to board the Sanyō-Kodama Shinkansen to Mihara. Then from Mihara, take the JR Pass through Kure Line to Tadanoumi Port. From the Tadanoumi Port, a ferry will take you to Ōkunoshima (大久野島).

For our case, the coordinators hired a bus at our disposal since we were taken to Takehara-shi (there will be a separate post for this) first for the on-site visit of the old town there where one of the currently-famous teleseries was shot (well, at that time one year ago).

We learned a lot during the trip. It was one of the trips that marked in our hearts so much to the extent that our project proposal was based on one of the implemented projects in Takehara-shi. All of us fell in love with the city. 

For everyone who manages to get to Hiroshima-ken, you should make it a point to visit Takehara-shi. It is just like the old district of Kyoto, and there is so much to learn in this part of Japan.

At the ferry.  We were eating takoyaki, thus the hand. :P

Okunoshima museum.

Some of the paraphernalia used in the poison gas factories.




Best friends in Okunoshima.

Magnificent view.






One of the poison gas factories.







You can also try to be an usagi-pyon with these bunny ears! And of course, the rabbits will photobomb your photos as they are everywhere, wondering why you don't hop around like they do. 


The tour to Ōkunoshima (大久野島) and the whole Takehara-shi trip was one of my favorite trips as I learned a lot. It is amazing how Japanese people turned around a military base into one of its many tourist spots. 

Upon going home, we didn't just bring with us memories but also exceptional knowledge about history, preservation and tourism. 

Have you gone to Ōkunoshima (大久野島)? 

31 comments:

  1. I love museums & learning about our history. I remember watching some movie which had this kinda poisoned gas deserted island reference in the start. Can't remember which one?
    Its beautiful to see how nature reclaims a place which man destroys!!! The rabbits are so cute indeed!!

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  2. So many cute bunnies! Love that they will go along with you! The buildings are a bit creepy but it's nice to go on tours and learn more about the places. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

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  3. Wow this place is surely rich in history! Especially in the WW period. It would be a good destination to those who loves to learn more about history!

    The bunny ears are so cool! Haha

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  4. Love yor pictures! Those bunnies were so cute!:D

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  5. It must be really fun playing with the rabbits. The view by the coast looks really fresh.

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  6. Those abandoned buildings look so eerie. Must be scary to be there at night. This does not seem to be near usual trip sites like Tokyo. Maybe this is something to consider for those who have travelled to Japan multiple times already.

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  7. I envy you, we never get!!!
    I always asked Ms. Meg "when we are going to the Rabbit Island?",but she said that our itinerary isn't the same with the other batches.

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  8. Such a fun experience! I would love to see a lot rabbits as well. My daughter will surely go crazy over those furry ones :)

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  9. That is a very interesting story, it made me want to visit. And those rabbits are so cute! :)

    STYLE VANITY

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  10. It must be a nice learning experience to visit this place. I have always wanted to go to Japan. For now, I travel through posts like yours.

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  11. The place was really awesome, makes me crave of Japan even more. And yeah, cute lil bunnies! :)

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  12. The photographs are very interesting and also has a very good quality, I found the rabbits a curious thing.

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  13. How cute! It's lovely that something so beautiful came out of something so horrific and dangerous. Gorgeous pictures!

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  14. Love the virtual tour u gave us n the photographs. U resemble Japanese while standing between them. Though pronouncing the city's name right in itself is a challenge but its worth visitin place.

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  15. I love the pictures. Japan is always a place I've wanted to visit. :)

    Aaliyah | www.thelifeofaaliyah.com

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  16. These bunny were cute but I couldn't be so close lol

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  17. Producing chemical weapons is terrible, and a reminder of how bad things can get. I think reminders like these are important, and I love your recommendation of a place that has transformed, was great. I am planning a trip to Japan next year with my brother, and will keep this spot in mind!

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  18. Oh my goodness my daughter would so love this place. I have never been to Japan but it is so on my bucket list of places to visit. I'm thinking when I do visit I want to visit here!

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  19. I love historic places. It's good the place was revamped for a better usage, masha'Allah. I missed our rabbits in my childhood years just by looking at your pics haha, xx :).

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  20. The bunny ears are super cute. I LOVE your blog design!

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  21. Asalamoalikum kai,
    I have read about this famous tourist spot before, but yr pics bring this alive,
    bravo!

    Eat Healthy Stay Healthy :)

    Myda Tahir
    mydatahir2025@gmail.com
    http://ummeummah.blogspot.com/

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  22. Japan is on my top five places to visit. I ask my husband to schedule our layovers there when we visit Indonesia. But we always end up flying into Hong Kong. Truly enjoyed the beautiful pictures and the bunnies were an absolute bonus.

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  23. What an interesting place. I'm sure my pet rabbits would love it there. The bunnies in the photos look very friendly. I guess they're used to haveing lots of people wondering around.

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  24. It is absolutely wonderful that Japan decided to take something that was so destructive and turn it towards something positive. It looks like a beautiful place and I would love to visit.

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  25. Looks like a mini exploration. I love visiting historic places and with the rabbits - Masha Allah that's a lovely bonus. Thank you for sharing.

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  26. Oh wow would love to visit there. I adore rabbits!

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  27. I am loving your adventures mashaa allah, keeps me coming back to see what your up to next ;)

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  28. the rabbits are so cutee! Definitely will visit Okunoshima when I can visit Japan ♥

    My Little Cream Button ♥

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  29. You look like you had a great time! My daughter adores Japan and wants to visit. She can say some phrases too. Wait until I show her this.

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