It’s not due to the shape of this island that it got the nickname of “rabbit island” but because it is completely overrun with the cute, fluffy bunnies.
The reason for the healthy population dates back to WWII when the island was used to produce chemicals to be used in combat like poison gas.
The rabbits were brought to the island to test the effects of the poison, but once the war ended they were freed by the workers.
Some reports say the bunnies are descendants of rabbits released by elementary school kids- maybe the truth is a combination of both stories.
Regardless, the presence of the rabbits has made the island a popular attraction.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for the Tadanoumi-Okunoshima ferry schedule.
Located about an hour’s drive past Kure from Hiroshima city is the island of Okunoshima.
The island is now a popular day-trip destination or weekend or holiday vacation spot.
There is a good sized hotel (resort) with hot spring bath, restaurant, pool (in summer) cycle and walking paths, kid-friendly museum and it is also possible to visit the abandoned site of the chemical factory if you are interested.Despite the beautiful, family-friendly view of the island and its surroundings. For the 16 years it was operating, the island was kept off maps and residents told to keep its poison gas factories secret.According to this Japan Times article, the island produced 5 types of chemical gas which was mostly used in warfare in China.While working at the factory, many workers (including children) also died during manufacturing.Some argue the island might not be completely safe as there has never been any major decontamination of the whole island and there are apparently some sealed locations remaining which may have poison stored at the end of the war.So, perhaps best to stay on the official walkways and paths on the island.