Hopping Around Rabbit Island

Last week Jeremy and I went to Rabbit Island (Ōkunoshima, Hiroshima Prefecture) with Desirae, Dejay, Stephanie, and Anthony. It’s about 2 hours drive from base. It was a fun ride including when Desirae’s and Dejay’s van decided to eat the toll ticket right as we exited the expressway. It had slipped under the radio. It was an interesting 10 minutes trying to explain what had happened to the three Japanese workers through Google translate. The older female worker was screaming the translations but we were quite sure who she was yelling at since the two other workers were right there beside her.

The town of Takehara is where we had to get on the ferry to go to Rabbit Island.  It was a quaint town with narrow streets and busy train tracks. I loved the peacefulness of the harbor despite the crowds.

The ferry ride over to the island was nice. It was a lot less choppy the ferry rides I use to take when visiting the Outer Banks, NC. The water in the harbor was surprising green and clear.

Rabbit Island gets its name from the hundreds of feral rabbits that live on the island. Even though there was gas testing and production done on the island before it became a park and rabbits were used for those experiments, the rabbits seen on the island today have nothing to do with the rabbits that were tested on. The Japanese made mustard gas and tear gas at a chemical munitions plant on the island. There is a museum dedicated to the production of these gases on the island. I hope to go back and see the museum on our next trip there.  The Japanese government released this new rabbits when they decided to turn the island into a park after WWII. The feral rabbits are very kind and friendly. They will come up to you because they know you’ll most likely have food. You can bring food like lettuce or carrots with you or you can buy bags of feed pellets at the ferry shop. If you buy the feed pellets, keep the bag to turn in afterwards for a free post card.

While walking around we found a place with hundreds of origami cranes hanging by some cherry blossom trees. I’m not sure what this one was for but I had seen similar setups around Peace Park in Hiroshima. It probably had something to do with the legend of a thousand origami cranes. Legends says that if fold 1000 origami cranes that you will have a wish granted. I wish I knew what they were wishing for.

We were excited to see that they still had cherry blossom trees. We had to stop  and take pictures with them just like the Japanese.

Around the island there are many paths for walking and hiking. We had fun wandering around and taking pictures. We even climbed a mountain during our adventure.

While we were there we each “adopted” a bunny child. Desirae and her husband, Dejay, had Billy. Jeremy and I had Apple. Stephanie and her husband, Anthony, named theirs Charley.

Jeremy and Anthony had a contest on who could pick up the most bunnies. I’m not sure who won it though.

I really enjoyed our day trip out there. It was a lot of fun. This is one of the places I am planning to bring my Mom next month when she comes out. Oh yeah. Forgot to mention that. My Mom is coming out for three weeks in May. We just booked her tickets last night. I’m excited to show her around but more excited to see her again. It has been five months since I have seen her. I am not use to going more than a couple of weeks without seeing her. It will be great to reconnect with her.

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