We woke up at the crack of dawn (7:30) and checked out, leaving our luggage at K’s House. We casually sauntered to the train station, booked a ticket on the next shinkansen and waited a half hour for it to arrive. A while ago we noticed alcoves down by the tracks, which we posited were for hiding in should a train approach and you are stuck down on the tracks for some reason. While we were waiting, Simon asked me how I would get from one side to the other without being seen, and we both suggested how we would do so. It was quiet for a while and I pondered, what would make me jump down into the tracks.
I formed the story for Simon who could only laugh at my heroic gesture, a story of a station where a train was coming from each side, and somehow a small deaf child is playing in the middle of the tracks, oblivious to the approaching danger. I would heroically leap down and pick the child up, and dive past the train, into the alcove below. As Simon scoffs, a family passes, “here’s a child,” he says, “push her down and see what the mother will do.”
A couple of stops and we were off at the local station, where Swang went for help and came back proud, saying he had told the officer where he wanted to go in Japanese and heard ichiban in the long reply. So we got on the train at track one and made it to the ferry in time, which took us to Okunoshima island – also known as bunny island as it is overrun with rabbits!
I could literally sit there all day with my bag of rabbit food and feed George until the sun went down. The island also has a large history as it went from a peaceful island to one that manufactured poison for the military.
We popped into a building that showed some history about the poison manufacturing (no photos allowed) and that was rather solemn… however upon stepping outside and spotting the rabbits again it was hard to feel sad.
A little more walking and we came upon the hotel, where we stopped in for some udon soup. Then we hit the road again looking through some ruined buildings and taking photos at the viewing platform at the top of the hill. On the way down a woman said something to Swang, perplexed. We tried to help but we didn’t know what she wanted – she wandered off and I googled a word Swang said he picked up, which turned out to be ‘viewing platform.’ So we probably could have helped after all, if she had made it clear what she wanted.. sorry miss!
On the way down I saw the smallest bunny ever and fed it and took a bajillion photos on my camera. Then we saw some more abandoned buildings and we sat down to give the rest of our pellets to the bunnies, where we were swamped by them. We got some more excellent photos and got on the boat.
Off the boat as we were going back to the train station, a couple of girls stopped me to ask if I had time to fill in a questionnaire – I asked Swang if we had the time (so as not to impose the questionnaire on him) and he said yes, which was for the best as after we completed it they gave us a free sake glass and filled it with sake for us!
We took the train back to the station and booked seats on the bullet train back to Hiroshima – then grabbed our bags and trekked through the busy town to check into the Ryokan. We got excited over the yukata and beds, and then we went to get pizza from a Japanese-Italian restaurant.
One of the pizzas was whitebait! It was cheap, especially compared to NZ. And we also had dessert. We then got back to our room and dressed up for a night of… sleeping. We also made some green tea with the ‘traditional’ amenities provided.