Shimanami is wonderful because it attracts a diverse range of tourists: from young to old, solo travelers to families, nature enthusiasts to shopping addicts... and of course, animal lovers! There are many opportunities to admire and interact with animals.
Cat Photography Exhibition by Mitsuaki Iwagō 「岩合光昭写真展」
Here we are at the entrance to the museum, where they installed a giant cat statue to welcome visitors!
This exhibition took place at the Onomichi City Museum of Art. The museum was designed by Tadao Ando and features large concrete rooms. The minimalism and simplicity of the space was an interesting contrast to the cuteness of the cat photography.
The exhibition was divided into themes including 'Play', 'Sleep', and 'Eat'. Overall the photography featured vibrant colors and details to show the daily lives of cats.
The poster for the exhibition features one of the photographs taken by Iwagō. Doesn't the cat look adorable?
[Image Source: Onomichi City Museum of Art
Rabbit Island (大久野島)
Ōkunoshima (大久野島) is a small island off the coast of Hiroshima prefecture. It is also known as Rabbit Island (うさぎ島) because of its large population of wild rabbits.
In the past, the Island was used to manufacture poisonous gas which was tested on rabbits. However, no one is sure if the rabbits currently living on the island are related to those rabbits at all. One legend has it that a group of elementary school students freed some rabbits, and the population grew immensely from that point onward.
Nowadays, the rabbits are accustomed to humans. You will see them lazilly lounging around the side of the road or by the sandy beach. They are friendly and playful, so feel free to pet them!
The rabbits love being fed! However, in order to maintain their population, rabbit food is not sold on the Island. You can buy rabbit food at the ferry station before arriving, or bring your own food, as the rabbits seem to prefer fresh fruits and vegetables to generic little pellets.
[Photo Credit: Jiaqi Li
Deer at Shrine Island (宮島)
[Photo Credit: Jiaqi Li
Miyajima (宮島) is most famous for its Shrine that appears to be floating in water. However, many tourists don't know that the island is also populated by friendly deer! Like the rabbits on Ōkunoshima (大久野島), these deer are used to humans and will even approach you expecting something to eat!
Many of these experiences interacting with animals are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you can't find anywhere else! Thus, Shimanami is truly a special place that allows visitors to better appreciate these cute and beautiful creatures.