August 26: Osaka Castle was my first and only stop for the day. I wasted no time getting there since the journey by foot was about two hours.
The majority of the area that houses the castle is a huge park, filled with plum trees, peach trees, and gardens.
However, the castle itself is rather small and is on its third iteration after burning down twice over the years. The most recent construction happened in 1583, so things are looking up. Speaking of looking up…
Inside the castle was a very cramped eight floor museum wherein you aren’t allowed to eat or drink (even water as far as I’m aware). It didn’t take long until I was bored so I quickly climbed to the top floor to snag some photos before descending.
On the way home I stopped at Shinseki – an area renowned for its food – and got an okonomiyaki (japanese style pancake) for dinner. In addition, I discovered a 24-hour grocery store called Super Tamade where the selection is fantastic and you can buy delicious ready-made food for ¥100.
I chose to end the day early and spent the evening watching Netflix and writing.
August 27: Five hours is how long it took me to finally arrive at my destination; on paper, it was two and a half. I’ll spare the details, but let’s just say everything is slow and infrequent in rural Japan.
Where was I headed that made this journey worth it? Rabbit Island.
Rabbit Island (AKA Okunomashima) is located about an hour outside of Hiroshima and, much like the name suggests, is an island filled with thousands of bunnies.
While no one knows for sure how the bunnies got there, two prevailing theories do exist:
1) During WWII the Japanese were using the island to develop poisonous gas. They used bunnies as test subjects. After the war, locals set the survivors free. Today’s population is the result of the remaining rabbits’ breeding over the years.
2) In 1971 a group of school children were taken on a trip to the island. With them, they brought a bunch of rabbits which were left there to be free in a safe haven. Again, today’s population came from years of breeding.
No matter which theory is the correct one, something is for certain: the rabbits LOVE the island. It has been set up as a sanctuary for them, with plenty of tourists and locals feeding them every day (with fresh veggies and rabbit food) and water set out every ten metres or so.