By: Jas Mitch
Deer Island and Chemical Warfare Bunnies (Hiroshima Prefecture)
After parting with Amy & John, Jas & I needed to figure out what to do with out remaining JR Pass time. We heard about islands down near Hiroshima were good fun so we hopped on a shinkansen.
First up we explored a bit around Hiroshima since we were staying there and because we wanted to learn a bit more about the a-bomb and how they recovered from it. In a nutshell, it is a beautiful city and the only real evidence of the bomb is the Peace Dome which is a partially ruined building that (partially) survived the being directly. Most people go straight to the dome thinking that is the ‘hypocentre’ but the spot is actually about 100m away and there is nothing but a plaque which is a bit surreal since it is so understated. In general the atmosphere has been one of peace and disarmament - they even want to take down the dome. At the Children’s Peace Memorial they still fold paper cranes for peace.
Next up we stopped at Miyajima, famous for the Istukushima Shrine out in the water but generally a fun place to meet all the deer that stalk tourists for food. Also, from here we could clearly see Autumn was hitting Japan.
Last was Okunoshima - known for two things being full of bunnies and old chemical warfare plants. Allegedly these bunnies are not related to the ones used for chemical weapons testing… but seriously, who believes that.
Okunoshima shares four things in common with Australia:
- Is an island (check)
- Infested with rabbits (check)
- Experimental chemical weapons tested on rabbits (check)
- Spiders as big as your face (check)
Jas and I took the long way around the island up and over the high point in the centre. Like most things around here, the further you get the quieter it is and the more friendly the bunnies are - the ones near the ferry are overfed but up on the hill they will jump in front of you to get some food. However, the downside of going the long way around the island is that spiders often weave webs across the path at night and you hope someone had been that way earlier in the day just to catch all the spiders for you. Still, we perfected the “crouch walk with hand in front of your face” technique.