Okunoshima is a small island in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. The island, which has a circumference of about two and a half miles, is famous for its main inhabitants of more than 300 rabbits that bound about freely, earning it the nickname of Usagi Shima, or Rabbit Island.
The island has become a travel destination with many people coming to feed the animals. Tourists can enjoy the facilities which include a resort, six hole golf course and camping grounds.
Despite the happy look of the Rabbit Island, it has a dark past. During World War II the island was used as a poison gas facility. From 1929 to 1945, the Japanese Army produced five types of poison gas on Okunoshima. The island was so secretive that local residents were told to keep away and it was removed from area maps.
Today ruins of the old forts and chemical factories can be found all across the island. There’s also a small museum that stands as a reminder of the chemical weapons production.
As for how the vast number of rabbits came about, some sources say that a group of schoolchildren on a field trip released eight rabbits here in 1971.
The semi-wild rabbits face no natural predators, and quickly grow in numbers.
These fluffy animals are used to humans and will approach them in search of a snack, and even hop on to laps.
Would you like to visit the Rabbit Island?
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