Our starting point of this trip was Onomichi (尾道), a fairly small seaside town, located in Hiroshima Prefecture (広島県) and not too far from Hiroshima City itself. It is on the busy Tokaido Shikansen line but as just a minor station, a change is required if travelling from Tokyo or Osaka.
But either way, to save cost (especially for us locals who don’t have the privilege of buying a Japan Rail Pass), and time (to allow an earlier start), we took overnight bus for the first time, departing from Tokyo at night, and finding ourselves in Onomichi the next morning.
Okunoshima Island (大久野島)
Onomichi wasn’t our first destination for the day though. After some breakfast and dropping off our bags at the hotel, we made a move again for Okunoshima Island.
There are many islands in this area of Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海). Okunoshima is the “rabbit island”, where lots of rabbits roam free and you can get up and close to them. In the dark old days there used to be military labs on the island developing chemical weapons, and some believed these are the rabbits that were used for research and freed when the facilities were abandoned after the World Wars. But actually they were introduced by the locals in more recent times.
In any case, on this island you can both enjoy playing with the rabbits, as well as taking in the history by visiting the museum about toxic gas development and checking out the abandoned facilities (regrettably no pictures taken for the latter).
As the ferry and train to Okunoshima were quite infrequent, we had to leave by around 3pm. You can easily spend more time there on some good walking trails or getting a rental cycle. In that case it would be a good idea to stay overnight at the resort on the island.
The hillside “temple walk” is one of the main attractions in Onomichi. There were quite a few temples along the way but we only went into a few as it’s almost early evening.