I want to go to there. Ōkunoshima, or “Rabbit Island,” is a small island off of Japan’s coast with a dark past and a fluffy present.
Japan has two magical islands where rabbits and cats have been allowed to take over, and they are both excellent destinations for any animal lover.
The first, Okunoshima, is a small island in the Sea of Japan that was used as a top-secret military site manufacturing poison gas for chemical warfare in the second world war. Afterwards, the gas was disposed of by allied forces and the history of the island was hushed up.
Nobody is sure how the rabbits came to be on Okunoshima, but one theory is that they were brought in to test the lasting effects of the poison gas manufactuing. Another theory is that the rabbits were released by a group of schoolchildren on a field trip in the seventies. Either way the rabbits have survived and indeed, thrived and are so used to human tourists that they will hop on people’s laps. Visitors are allowed to feed the rabbits, and pellets of rabbit food are sold for ¥100 a cup at the Kyukamura Okunoshima resort hotel located on the island.
The next island, The Cat Island, officially called Tashirojima, is a small island in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, that is inhabited by more cats than people. The island has become known as “Cat Island” due to the large stray cat population that thrives as a result of the local belief that feeding cats will bring wealth and good fortune. The cat population is now larger than the human population on the island. Many buildings on the island have been built to resemble cats, as seen below.
The final island, Big Major Cay in the Bahamas is a small, uninhabited island and very popular anchorage. The Exuma Banks side of the island has two beautiful beaches, one of which is home to one of the most famous attractions in the area - swimming pigs.
Nobody is sure how the pigs ended up in an island in the middle of the sea, but it’s generally believed that they were left there by passing sailors who may have brought them as a food source. However, the sailors never returned and the lucky pigs rather than end up as bacon found themselves a home.
Finding food has never been a problem. Over the years local yachts and sailboat cruisers brought their scraps and leftovers to the beach so the pigs could feed. The clever pigs have also worked out that the crews of passing yachts regularly dump excess food into the sea. Today the beach is a popular tourist attraction and whether or not they remember to bring their swimming gear, the tourist will always bring food. The hungry pigs eagerly plunge into the waves when they see a yacht and will swim a few hundred feet up to the vessel in the hope of a free meal.
The pigs are so successful in their enterprise that they are now living the dream by raising their family of eight on a tropical island in the Caribbean with nothing to do but eat, sleep and swim.