Travel Time 1 – Back to Japan

お久しぶりです! It’s been a while!

After a small break from DanDan, I decided to come back with a series of short travelling snippets for my next few posts. With most people being stuck at home for extended periods of time, it would be nice to go on small trips – at least on paper.

Basically, I’ll be writing short stories about cities we’ve either visited or would like to see in the future. It’ll either be lists of fun facts, anecdotes from the time spent there, or reasons to visit!

For the first one, we’ll be cheating a little bit and talk about a small Japanese island of only a few thousand inhabitants that many of you may not have heard of – Ōsakikamijima.

Sure, everyone knows Tokyo and Kyoto are beautiful, but there are so many other places that don’t get nearly as much attention.

Osakikamijima is one of them.

For me, it was the first time I was visiting a smaller city or island after Kokoro and I went on a small tour of Western Japan for our honeymoon, so I will always have fond memories of our stop there. And I will always be grateful to our hosts who not only warmly welcomed us, but also took the time to talk to me about the island’s beautiful history and recent developments.

For such a small island, the amount of activity and travel back and forth to the mainland is quite impressive.

A lot of it is due to Ōsakikamijima housing two high schools – a local one and an international one recently built and fully equipped with dormitories and all other features that you’d expect from a modern educational institution.

But there’s more to it of course; as an island and port, the fishing industry is omnipresent (with some of the best seafood I’ve ever had, might I add), but there are also many farmers who cultivate things such as blueberries and lemons.

A quick trip to the island’s small mountain peak will also reward you with a breath-taking view of the nearby islands and even the mainland. Just check out the pictures here!

Also, one of the islands that you can see in the distance is the so-called ‘Rabbit Island’ that has become famous in recent years for its abnormally large rabbit population.

The island however, called Ōkunoshima, harbours a darker, mysterious past, as it is also nicknamed ‘Poison Gas Island’. The reason for this is that poison gas tests were conducted secretly on this island prior to World War II, while it was even erased from maps for a while. Today however, the pre-war ruins lie in contrast with the hundreds of rabbits that happily hop around the increasing number of tourists.

But we are digressing now.

Going back to Ōsakikamijima however, I have nothing but positive memories of this hidden gem in the Seto Inland Sea!