Totoro’s house

As I’ve said in previous blog posts, all future travel articles, travel info, and travel guides will be published on our new Patreon project. Currently, it’s called 52 Photos of Japan, but perhaps 52 Facts About Japan is better. Whatever it’s called, it is ladened with info about this weird, beautiful, some times crazy, sometimes delightful land. Today’s new blog post is a travel guide about how you can visit Satsuki and Mei’s house, a replica from the beautiful iconic classic My Neighbour Totoro. See it at Patreon.com/ablyth.

  • Photos: me
  • Story: me
  • Model: Chiaki 

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Yashica vs. Nikon: Yashica wins

Every company wants news about them to go viral, but not like how it went viral for Nikon. I didn’t even know this, until FStoppers released a news story that had these points

  1. Nikon released the new and amazing D850 (Ok, I knew this)
  2. Nikon recently announced an all star team of photographers
  3. The all star team would promote the Nikon D850
  4. They are all men

I also noticed that the team exclusively consists of Caucasians, Central and East Asians. The main points I see is that there are no women, and it represents a racial profile that suits Nikon. It was also pointed out by a Twitter member (sorry, I forgot who), that the Nikon president doesn’t want to show women using cameras, as it would appear that the cameras would be too simple. Pure sexism. To be fair, in the global group they have one Italian woman included.

Image from FStoppers

 

In contrast is Yashica, this week hinted a new chapter in their company’s history with this video showing a young Japanese woman using a vintage camera, a smartphone adapting lens, and a hint of something new in the works.

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WIN a FREE website in September with us and HelloSpace.Me

JapanesePhotos.Asia has started a new project at Patreon.com/ablyth, where we will share:

  • 1 new photo each week with a short story about Japan (you can keep the photo for personal use on your own blogs), and
  • Each month, a new travel guide entry, or
  • A photographic how-to (great for beginners and travellers)

This project is really new, and we have BIG plans for it. It is exciting, and will be loaded with travel advice, travel information, and photographic ideas to make your next big trip fantastic. Best part is: It’s super cheap AND you can join in the discussion. Most travel books provide information one-way. Here, we will build a community, and you can have your say on what we can do next. That’s right, if you want to know more about a place in Kyoto, and other people agree, we can take you there with our Patreon blog.

We’ve teamed up with HelloSpace.Me the leading provider of websites for education and lifestyle people and groups.

WIN a FREE website from HelloSpace.Me

WIN a FREE website from HelloSpace.Me

The competition

Want your own .com web address and website? Yes, you can be one of five people to win the first year of your own website FREE from HelloSpace.Me. To enter, simply Become a Patron to our Patreon.com/ablyth blog in September 2017 and you’re in the running. Winners will be announced both here, Patreon.com/ablyth, and at HelloSpace.Me/blog. The prize is over USD$130 of webspace and domain for your own website*.

You will get:

  • The Lite Plan with 3Gb webspace, easy one-click install of WordPress and many other web apps, upto 5 email addresses, and more (see the Lite Plan here).
  • Domain registration (for your own web address) choose a name with one of the following TLDs: .com .audio .ca .cn .eu .nagoya .net .nl .nz .one .org .pro .ru .space .tokyo .uk .us  (USD$20/yr limit).
  • If you prefer a different TLD like .blog .me or .photo then you will still get the 3Gb webspace free, but you will neet to pay for the domain registration (web address registration) yourself. Full list of TLDs is here.
  • Choose your web address / domain registration at: https://hellospace.me/host/index.php.
  • Cost of renewal after the first year is: domain registration plus Lite Plan fees (current discounted cost: USD$60) plus taxes.
  • Winners to be announced 1st October 2017, and will be chosen at random.
  • Follow us on Twitter.com/japanesephotos Instagram.com/japanesephotosasia Patreon.com/ablyth
  • Follow HelloSpace.Me on Twitter.com/hellospaceme.

Best of luck

* Based on normal industry prices: https://hellospace.me/about-webhosting/compare-us/.

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New news: So let down, and so thrilled

There’s two things that have got me down this week, but at the same time two things more than make up for it. Let’s start with the good, and I promise to end with a funny comment.

As readers know, this week has been a busy one for me. I’ve continued to set up and added to the new Patreon.com/ablyth page, and I’m preparing the 52 Week Japan Photos project (a full weekend and then some is still required). The first patron exclusive photo went out on Friday night. The other good thing is I’ve submitted a proposal to KickStarter, and hopefully they will understand it and approve of it. If not, I’ll find new ways to promote the cost-share product shoot.

The first thing that has let me down also relates to Kickstarter. I supported the Rigiet smartphone gimble. It was meant to be delivered in June, however, at time of writing, I’m still waiting. I got the delivery tracking number at the end of July, but still no movement. Apparently, the company that makes it chose a bad shipping company and had “problems” (as they vaguely described). However, in the last few days people in the US and Europe have been saying that they’re getting theirs. Another, “however” is that it doesn’t work properly. They are reporting that it is so bad it’s unusable. There appears to be no Android app, it doesn’t calibrate, batteries are faulty, and the motors don’t seem strong enough to support the iPhone. Other people are reporting that they didn’t get the GoPro mount adapters they also ordered. Most disconcerting of all is the lack of communication from the Rigiet company. They are reactionary in their communication, but also they do not respond to many people’s requests for refunds.


The Rigiet gimble, apparently DOA.

 

The company that should be doing it right is Amazon Japan. My old external drives started to act unreliably, and with 17 years of data and photos stored on them, it’s time to upgrade. So, I recently ordered and started to set up a RAID storage system.  The latest step was to add an 8Tb hard drive to the system. This is a very important step, as it would be a backup drive for what is already set up, and allow me to reorganise all my current storage systems so it all is consolidated. However, this morning my joy sank immediately on opening the box.

The 8Tb Seagate hard disk drive was only protected by bubble wrap and box of corn flakes.

The 8Tb Seagate hard disk drive was only protected by bubble wrap and box of bran flakes.

As you can see, the ¥27,000 (about $300) Seagate 8Tb hard drive was not in a normal protective packaging, but in bubble wrap, thrown in lose with the breakfast cereal. The most crucial element of a storage and RAID system is the trust you have that it will not fail; at least it should last a few years. However, this HDD was simply sitting on the floor of the box, sandwiched between the corn flakes and spacer paper added. Hard disk drives cannot be bounced around, and they cannot suffer hard jolts from being on the floor of a delivery truck. Added to that, there are people on Amazon.jp saying that their devices failed within months (1-star feedback). I cannot risk having a system failure, and I cannot risk losing 17 years worth of data on a very large disk, where one small bit of damage can undermine the whole system. Consequently, I’m returning it. I hit the return button on Amazon within 10 minutes of receiving it.

As you can see in the images above, the boxes were damaged, and one was partly open, allowing the world to see what brand of laundry detergent I use.

However, simply returning items to Amazon isn’t simple. There are reports of people being banned for returning too many faulty or problematic items (The Guardian). I worry that this may affect my standing with Amazon, but Amazon isn’t the only online marketplace… though there is no comparison.

In any case, I got my bran flakes delivered for me. Yay! I love the twenty-first century!

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First Pateon-exclusive post gets published tonight

We’ve started our two Patreon projects:

  1. 52 Photos of Japan (weekly)
  2. Travel info, guide, travel photo articles

The first Patreon exclusive content goes out at 7pm tonight (Friday) Japan time. It includes a free photo normally worth USD$25/photo, for JUST $1 or $5/post. Find us at Patreon.com/ablyth.

 

A young Japanese lady in Asakusa, Tokyo.

A young Japanese lady in Asakusa, Tokyo.

Become a Patron!

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New exclusive work on Patreon

We have published a lot of great travel articles, travel guides, and more here on our blog. However, we don’t get paid for it. A lot of people are able to benefit for free, but we struggle to afford the trips and the models we need. Consequently, we will be doing two new projects on Patreon.Com/ablyth.

  1. The 52 Week Japan Photo Project, a photo per week will be given for free to patrons.
  2. All new travel articles and travel guides will be published on our Patreon page; we hope to eventually do this monthly. Included will be large-sized photos that patrons can download and use without any watermarks. Patrons can also use these photos for their own personal use including blogs.

Become a Patron!

Various Japan-related scenes.

Various Japan-related scenes.

Become a Patron!

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5 Times to avoid travel in Japan

Sadly, this is the last time we will publish a travel related article for free on our own blog. However, we have not given up, and we will not quit. We have lots, lots, LOTS more to write about, photograph, and share. All our new travel articles will be published on our Patreon page.

I’ve had models come from overseas and want to work with me, and I’ve had to give them warnings and advice on moving about in Japan. Generally, there’s a few key pieces of information that all travellers must have. You simply cannot just turn up and expect everything to work; in this otherwise well managed, smoothly functioning country.


 

Japanese get very few holidays and little chances of having time off. They are expected to work like slaves through out the year and their lives. For instance, even though legally maternity and paternity leave is generous, generally men can get only really the day of their child’s birth off (and may be a couple more days). That means, there’s just a few opportunities in the year to do things like head back to their home towns. Many Japanese were raised in a different city to where they currently work. Consequently the transport system gets very, very, clogged at the start and end of the holiday periods. Major companies used to coordinate their holidays to be held at the same time, so that it was easy for staff to know if another company is contactable on particular days or not. This led to Friday afternoon jams on public transport like the bullet train, airports, and highways. A two hour trip could become an eight hour ordeal. At the end of the break the so called “U-turn” rush is just as bad. Companies kept this schedule for decades, but only recently have they started to relent to pressure to stagger their holidays, or offer “flexible” holiday periods for their employees. Flexible in quotation, as their is still heavy restrictions on when they can start and end their breaks.

The major holidays

1. The Golden Week Break

This is a collection of holidays including Children’s Day that were bunched together because having a scattering of days off was too disruptive for companies. The GW holiday usually starts from the last few of days of April and ends at around the 5th of May. The exact dates vary from year to year, and depends on when the weekend is.



The bullet train is known by the locals as the “shinkansen”

2. The New Year Break

The New Year holiday replaces the family focused Chinese or Lunar New Year (CNY) that was celebrated until this post-war period began, and is now largely forgotten from Japanese culture. For European cultures, Christmas is the big family time of year, but CNY was that for Mandarin influenced cultures. Today in Japan, they have completely adopted the Gregorian Calendar, and so the European New Year is celebrated instead. The break normally starts at around the 27th December (depending on when the weekend is), and lasts until about the first weekend of the new year. Usually, you would have to avoid travelling on that first Sunday.

3. The Mid-summer festival break

This is also called Obon in Japan. In Mandarin influenced cultures, this is a mid-summer feast to celebrate the end of harvest. In post-agrarian Japan, it seems this is largely forgotten, and is known as a holiday to celebrate the ancestors. It used to be held according to the lunar calendar, but since Westernisation in the late 1800’s, the holiday was fixed to the Gregorian rather than the lunar Calendar, but is still a floating holiday. It generally runs from around the 11th to 16th August each year (depending on the companies). It’s not an official holiday, and so government offices are still open, and many services still operate on normal schedules.

On any given day

4. In the mornings

The subways can be crazy-crowded, especially in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. The times to avoid generally vary by station, by section, and especially by line. Generally avoid the main lines that connect to central nodes, especially between 7.30am to about 8.10am. If you take the train during this rush period, you won’t be standing only shoulder-to-shoulder (yes, let your imagination run wild). If you have a backpack, it’s best to wear it on your front when inside the train.

 



An office worker at a subway station probably wondering how to get home after an after-hours get together.

 

5. Late at night

Two things to be mindful of. The last subway train can run from around 11.40pm to maybe 12.20am. This means, if you miss it, expect an expensive taxi ride home. Check hyperdia.com for train times. The other thing is if there’s a special event or festival. Subway stations are not designed for big event crowds. So when a fireworks display, a baseball game ends, or even a town festival ends, crowds will generally descend on the closest (often only) nearby train station all at once. Don’t plan on any taxis being available, or even a way to drive anywhere between the event and the train station. Crowds can be so thick that even traffic wardens can keep cars at traffic lights waiting for over half an hour or longer, if the roads were allowed to be open at all.



Some festivals can attract crowds of anywhere between 100,000 for a small local festival, to many hundreds of thousands.

 

Bonus: Kyoto on any given afternoon

Kyoto residents are proud of their city’s heritage. So beautiful is it, that a captain in WWII in the US military who was tasked to choose bomb sites said that the city has such a cultural and architectural heritage that it should be spared from all bombing. Today, hoards of tourists descend on the city on a daily basis. Many Japanese and Chinese tour groups have their own buses, but North American and European travellers tend to find their own way about town. Consequently, when all the tourist places close at 4.30 or 5pm, suddenly, there are hoards of tourists all trying to cram onto buses or take taxis simultaneously. Consequently, the roads and buses are clogged with lots of very tired travellers and locals.



A Kyoto City bus in the afternoon just before tourist sites close for the day.

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Okunoshima, aka Rabbit Island

A rabbit on Okunoshima, aka Rabbit Island, in Hiroshima Prefecture Japan.

Okunoshima is one of those very special experiences, and it will amaze your friends when you tell them about it. It is one of those places that is rare and unique, and having been there you can truly call yourself a traveller, not a tourist, but a Traveller.

In short, people go to Okunoshima for the rabbit experience. It must be the cutest and most heart warming experiences you can have in Japan. Like every coin has a second side, like for every yin there is a yang, the island also has a dark side; it was where the Japanese military made its’ illegal chemical weapons.

A rabbit on Okunoshima, aka Rabbit Island, in Hiroshima Prefecture Japan.

A rabbit on Okunoshima, aka Rabbit Island, in Hiroshima Prefecture Japan.

From start to finish the whole trip is like an adventure for my ten year old daughter and I. I didn’t tell her what to expect, I just said, “Let’s go on an adventure”, she replied, “Ok”, and so it began. Travelling from my home in Nagoya, it’s a two hour bullet train ride to Fukuyama, then a change to a local version of the bullet train to Mihara, then a change to a real local train for Tadanoumi. By this time it was dark, and we could only see the occasional lights. At Tadanoumi station we were kindly met by the AirBnB host, even though it was about 10pm at night. We could smell hints of the sea. I was dog tired and looking forward to collapsing in a bed. A habit of mine when travelling is to always keep my eyes peeled for restaurants, convenience stores, transport hubs, and other essentials. I spotted a Seven Eleven and felt relief. We dumped off our bags at the house, and walked back the five minutes to the Seven Eleven. Along the way, in the still and the mist of the seaside darkness we saw a fox bound out of the bushes ahead and leap across the near by railway tracks and evaporate into the darkness. We picked up some drinks and breakfast, and headed home in the still quiet night.

The bed was a typical Japanese futon in an old style house. It was thin and laid out direct onto tatami, and with a very thin pillow. Towels were like they were from the ¥100 Shop ($1 Shop), small, very thin, and I needed two to dry. Because this was mid August it was also mid summer in Japan, so it’s really humid and oppressively muggy-hot at 8am in the morning. Showering in the morning means you don’t actually get dry; you go from shower-wet to sweaty-wet unless you stand in front of the dehumidifying-air conditioner.



The view of the sea and nearby islands seen from the Tadanoumi high street.

 

Tadanoumi, as it turns out, is a seaside town. The name, I was told by my daughter, simply means, “It’s just the sea”, a very “duh” name made into an address; and it must raise a smirk for non-locals to hear. Seeing any town by daylight after arriving in the night is a surreal experience. Especially when discovering that the sea is right there. The ferry ticket office is is just off the high street (off the main road) right in front of the wharf where the ferry lands. It’s easy to find, just follow other people who are wearing hats, sunglasses, and backpacks, or else use Google Maps (link provided below). You may be lucky enough to stay at an AirBnB that provides a portable wifi for your use, otherwise double check your route and with Google Street View before you set off. FYI, now there are various small companies in Japan that can lease out portable wifi hubs if you would rather hold onto one for all your travels.

 



The ferry arriving at Tadanoumi.

 

Ferry tickets are ¥310 for adults and ¥160 for children, but you will buy them as return for ¥620 and ¥320 respectively. There are two types of ferries, one that takes only 100 people, and the main one that takes about 300 people and cars, bicycles, and light trucks. It costs ¥120 per bicycle, and up to large motorbikes and cars which are ¥500. Prices are current as of the 18th August 2017. The ferry time table is included in the Getting There section later. The ferry ride takes about 10 to 12 minutes, barely enough time to enjoy sitting, and barely enough time to cool down in the air conditioning on your return.



I didn’t know it at the time, but I took my first photo of Okunoshima here. It’s the closest one in this image, with Japan’s highest power lines.

Moments after getting off the ferry my ten year old daughter was startled, “Oh! Look! A rabbit!”. “What?! No way! It’s an island. There can’t be any rabbits here!”, I coolly replied. “Yes there is! Look! Another one! That boy’s patting it! And another! Wow! Oh!”. And it continued. This is the definition of “shock and awe”.

 

The Island

The Rabbits

First point to note is that they do not sell any rabbit food on the island. I’m not sure why, but my guesses are that in so doing, it doesn’t lead to overfeeding and overpopulation of the rabbits. This might be especially important as the number of tourists are not constant throughout the year. You can purchase a small bag of pellets at the ferry ticket office, or ask your AirBnB host for advice on how to get some cabbage. If you’re lucky, your AirBnB host might leave a bag of cabbage in the fridge for you, so please thank them very much if they do. Second point is, they are wild animals, not pets. That means there are rules for your safety, and for theirs. That means, don’t pick them up, and especially, don’t feed them by the side of the road. It’s dangerous for the rabbits if they become accustomed to expecting food right next to where buses and cars pass through. They also ask people not to abandon their pet rabbits on the island, which will have repercussions for the former pet who is not accustomed to life in the wild.



This photo was taken within 50 meters of the ferry.

 

Literally, within the first moments of stepping of the ferry and setting foot on land you will see rabbits. Nobody knows how many there are, but probably a thousand or so that can be seen from the main thoroughfares. The island is small, and takes only a couple of hours to walk around. In this couple of hours you will stop a lot, and spend time with bunnies. There are so many that you can tire yourself out. At the start everyone says “Oh! How cute!” and are eagerly and sincerely trying to get close to the bunnies, and have a real authentic interaction with them. However, close to midday I saw hot, tired, weak, lethargic people simply dropping bits of cabbage to rabbits before stumbling on.

 



A view of the old power plant through a tunnel.

 

Just off the ferry, you will be confronted with a choice of either going left or right. Most people go left towards the camp-ground, hotel, the swimming beach, and the main museums. However, I recommend going right to where it’s a bit quieter, and you can have a less distracting experience with the bunnies. Head towards the creepy looking old power generation building that seem to deter most Japanese people, so you can have more bunnies to yourself. I don’t recommend circumnavigating the island, as it can be a too long-a-walk; you will be worn out and won’t enjoy the experience any more. So, meet and feed the bunnies at the old power station, then head back towards the hotel.

 



People feeding and enjoying time with some rabbits near the power plant.


Feeding rabbits is one of the most unique experiences in your life. Interestingly, sometimes when they hop away they pee. It’s not squirted or dribbled, but by the hopping movement, it’s left like a trail frozen in the air for a moment before it falls to the ground. Also, watch out for where you put your hands, they can pee on them too! Another badge of honour that can be earned at bunny island.



A rabbit at Okunoshima.

A rabbit at Okunoshima.

Pro-tip: When photographing rabbits, don’t point your camera down at them from your eye level. Instead, put your camera down on the ground and photograph from their eye level.

 

Swimming

My AirBnB host said that the beach at Tadanoumi is great, as it’s clean, nice, and not crowded, but the beach at Okunoshima is dirty and crowded. My verdict is that the beach at the island is nice, a bit ouchy to walk on barefoot with the gravelly sand, and there’s some rocks under the surface of the water. There’s also some tidal current there, but not too strong. Just the same, there were very young children playing there, and a lifeguard who a few times per hour jumped on his board to rescue a blow up toy that was escaping the roped off area. I’m someone who always has to feel productive, so this was an amazing experience in itself. I put my phone down, and had no book, no laptop, only my thoughts. It was the most intellectually clarifying times I have experienced in many years. Warning, there’s very little shade here, and so you must have a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lots of sunscreen. If you don’t like beaches, the hotel has a pool nearby.


The museums & ruins

The island today is a national park managed by the government. There are two main museums, one is the military related ones, and the other is the conservation one. There’s a lot of ruins on the island. The island was first settled by the army in 1902 during the Russo-Japanese War. They installed batteries (land-based naval canons), and a power station. Later, in 1927-1929 the Japanese army built facilities and began to create and store chemical weapons on Okunoshima. The 1925 Geneva Convention explicitly states that the use of chemical weapons was banned, but did not include the development, production, and storage of them. The Japanese army kept the development, production, and storage of them such a secret that the island was kept off many maps that was made. The island was chosen because it was considered far enough away from Tokyo to make the toxic chemicals like mustard gas. Ironically, the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant was the deadly one, and it was magnitudes closer to Tokyo. Within a year of the end of the Pacific war (ending in 1945), the remaining chemicals were destroyed at the orders of the US occupiers, so too the equipment, and so forth. The US military used some of the facilities to store munitions especially during the Korean War (1950-1953) before Japan was returned to self-rule in 1956. The ruins you will find there include observation lookouts, battery facilities, power house ruins, old bomb shelters, and so forth.



This image above is of the main storage place of the chemicals, which supposedly still has toxic traces today.

The nature conservation museum of course focuses on the rabbits, but also other marine life on and around the island. It is said that the rabbits were taken to the island so that they could test the chemical weapons. At the end of the war, the remaining rabbits were supposedly set free rather than being destroyed. However, no one is sure if any of that is true. Other theories suggest that the rabbits were introduced or reintroduced in the 1960’s. There appears to be one species of rabbit, with limited number of variations, which suggests a small number seeded the island, certainly at some point in the last 100 years.

 

The Shinto Shrine

There is a Shinto Shrine on the island, there is an information plaque, but nothing about it in English. This is strange as everything else is bilingual, but this. At the moment I don’t know anything about the history, the current status, or even the purpose of it. I hope to update this section eventually.



A Japanese tour group a the island Shinto Shrine.

Getting there

Okunoshima is not accessible by land transport, but only by ferry from Tadanoumi. The ferry does a few runs before 9am, and then frequency of services drops dramatically through the day, and picks up again in the late afternoon. There are two ferries, a small one, and a larger one that can take cars and upto about 300 passengers a time. For use on Google Maps and other electronic search functions, you might need to use both “English” and Japanese variants of the name, or else just copy and paste from this post. Okunoshima is written as oo ku no ji ma  おお く の じ ま which is converted to 大久野島 by the Input Method Editor on the iPhone. However, my Windows 10 IME struggled and failed to produce the correct Chinese characters.



Boarding the ferry to depart Okunoshima.

The best way to get to the island is to plan your trip via the town Tadanoumi 忠海. By the way, the name Tadanoumi literally means, “It’s just a sea”. The island is in Hiroshima Prefecture, and to get to Tadanoumi by bullet (aka Shinkansen in Japanese) and local trains it’s about:

  • Three and a half hours south from my home base Nagoya
  • Two hours south from Osaka, and
  • One and a half hours north from Hiroshima

On Google Maps Okunoshima is here: https://goo.gl/maps/xNNVHZEfzVF2.

Ferry ticket office and wharf is here: https://goo.gl/maps/iedNLQYRsNE2. Zoom in on the map to see the precise location of the wharf and ticket office.

The ferry time table that was current as of the 18th August 2017.

The ferry time table that was current as of the 18th August 2017.

 

Accommodation

I didn’t stay on the island, instead I found an AirBnb at the closest town called Tadanoumi; more on that below. There is a hotel on the island, but it doesn’t look like it needs to compete for customers. The exterior looks like it was designed by a bored bureaucrat with a migraine on a late Friday afternoon in the 1930’s. Almost all hotel lobbies in Japan greet you with near-ice cool, welcoming, relieving, air conditioning; which helps humanise you before going to the reception. Even though I was hot, perhaps suffering from a little heat stroke, the lobby did not have air conditioning, instead it was stuffy and more muggy inside; it was actually cooler to sit outside in the shade. I didn’t see the rooms, but I suspect they are not quite three star.



The hotel on Okunoshima, which also has the café, restaurant, and gift shop. This is where you’ll probably have your lunch.

The AirBnB place I stayed in was a very old Japanese style house that was modestly spruced up for travelling guests. I honestly didn’t feel comfortable there, as it was a real Japanese like living experience. The towels were thin, and very small, which is apparently normal for Japanese. The house overlooked a busy road and didn’t have curtains on the windows. I think you get the picture. To my horror, I realised that the host can even rate the guests, even though they are the ones who are in it for the business! Luckily I was nice, and clean. The host was super nice, super friendly, and super helpful.



Surprisingly, you can camp on the island. You can rent gear that includes what looks like a four person tent, fly, hammock, camp table and chairs. Yes, I did say “hammock”! There are campfire hearths for cooking, and a shower block too. Of course, there’s bunnies all about the place when you wake up. So, what can you do for food?


Eating

There are four ways to eat on the island. Only one of them is vegetarian or vegan friendly.

  1. The hotel restaurant
  2. The hotel café
  3. The beach side stall
  4. BYO

The hotel restaurant menu features octopus. Lots of octopus dishes. I do not eat seafood, and so I couldn’t find anything on the menu that I could eat (except for items in the drink and dessert menus).

The hotel café offers a lot of octopus dishes too, but also plain, cheap, Japanese cafeteria style bland curry with rice, which probably had bits of pork in it.

The beach side stall offered various meat-on-stick choices, and yakisoba, a pork and noodle food.


Yakisoba, which is pork and noodles. This seems to have been heated in a packet before serving. This food is also a popular festival food.

Of course you can bring your own food, but you cannot give it to the rabbits. There are lots of drink vending machines in Japan, and so you can find such things on the ferry, and at the main buildings on the island. The Seven Eleven near the Tadanoumi wharf has standard food and drink options, so you might want to bring your own snacks and lunch from Mihara city.

Transport

There are a few options to get about on the island. Ninety percent of people just walk. Some people hire bicycles from the hotel, but please don’t. The rental bicycles have really noisy squeaky brakes. However, the good part is the rabbits, like Pavlov’s Dogs, have learnt to associate squeaky brakes with food, and so they’ll come hopping. Very, very few people take cars, but hotel guests take the bus for the one minute ride between the ferry wharf and the hotel.



The shuttle bus that does the run between the wharf and the hotel, which takes about one minute.



Rental bicycles from the hotel. Children’s bikes are blue with blue love-hearts; good for both genders.

 

Dining at Tadanoumi

It turns out that there are just three choices in Tadanoumi. First is whatever you can find in the Seven Eleven. The second and third are the okonomiyaki restaurants. Luckily, the one we went to was great. We were tired, and it was amazing to watch how he made it right before our eyes. Okonomiyaki is normally made with batter, and a mix of basic veggies and a meat. This is Hiroshima style, and so it’s different. I won’t spoil it for you, but let you experience it for yourself. It was awesome!

The okonomiyaki restaurant in Tadanoumi.

The okonomiyaki restaurant Eshima in Tadanoumi.

The restaurant called Eshima was a little difficult to find. Since it’s one of two options in the town, the older lady at the petrol station knew exactly where it was and what I was talking about. The map shows three, but I was told there’s only two; feel free to explore. Here’s a map to help you get there. The guy running it is really nice and friendly. I hope you enjoy it. Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/Fax6xgdwXVF2

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