Usaga Jima

Usaga Jima

It’s really called Okunoshima but Usaga Jima describes it much better: Rabbit Island. It’s near Japan, as you might have guessed.

It is home to hundreds of wild rabbits but that doesn’t really describe it. The Japanese who go there get a great deal of satisfaction from the rabbits.

Compare the Japanese to other visitors.

Not quite the same, huh?

You know, Japan isn’t full of small animals like some other places. So this is a zoo you can enter and the rabbits are surprisingly tame.

Some think they are descendants of test rabbits used in during WWII when the Japanese army was secretly producing poison gas there. Okunoshima was super secret and they even took the island off their maps. Rabbits were brought to the island in order to test the effects of the poison.

Now rabbits have the run of the place. And tourists get involved.

But are they the relatives of the test rabbits? Maybe, maybe not. Some prefer the story of schoolchildren bringing some rabbits to the island in 1971. Anyway, there are thousands now. And predators are not allowed.

The island is reached by ferry and is quite popular with tourists who can play golf, camp and spend time on the beaches.

The more serious minded can tour the former poison gas facilities or see the ruins of military buildings on the island.

Most apartments in Japan do not allow pets so this might be a way to hang out with small animals. You can buy food for the rabbits on the island.

Do you think this is better than a Museum of Poison Gas? I know I do.

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