This area is packed with countless popular tourist spots, like the Ōkunoshima rabbit island, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Museum, Yamato Museum, Ondo Ferry and much more. The whole area was known as the Aki fiefdom until the Heian Period, when it was split into the northern and southern part. Due to the sheer abundance of popular spots the area sees countless visitors on a daily basis. It is also famous for excellent cuisine, whether the Kure Warship Curry or the representative Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, or even the Setouchi Lemon Cake, there’s plenty to enjoy in Aki. Red brick chimneys and white walls create a unique atmosphere of the local sake brewery district, complemented by the scent of rice wine in the air. For less appealing aromas, cross hop on a ferry and head out to Okunoshima to the Okunoshima Island Poison Gas Museum. At the Fude No Sato Kobo factory, where most of the Hiroshima fude brushes are manufactured, you can enjoy not only a tour of the factory but there are workshops available as well! For a bit of nostalgia head out to the hot spring resort Kagura Tōji Monzen Village, where you can enjoy not just the hot springs but also different forms of entertainment to the fullest. The whole area of Aki is very tourist friendly, so you are bound to have a great time no matter where you go!
The island of Okunoshima located in this area used to be a poison gas research and manufacturing facility. After the war there was no further use for it so the facility was abandoned and records of it suppressed. The island effectively became uninhabited. As time passed rabbits escaped from an elementary school and found a new home here. Doing what rabbits usually do, the rabbit population increased dramatically. It is estimated that around 1000 rabbits inhabit the island today. Today the island remains largely uninhabited, except for a handful of facilities like the Rest Village, Poison Gas Museum and the Okunoshima Visitors Center. In summer the Rest Village operates a swimming pool, attracting even more visitors to the island. There’s also the Yamato Jetty, very popular among fans of the Maritime JSDF forces.
The popular tourist areas could be divided into the maritime related attractions like the Yamato Museum, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Museum, Submarine Akishio on one hand, and Okunoshima and Kagura Tōji Monzen Village on the other. The former are conveniently located in close proximity to each other, making it an excellent choice for visiting. Even though Okunoshima can be only reached via a ferry the ride itself is relatively short so it is still a worthwhile spot to visit. Kagura Tōji Monzen Village is best visited at sundown, but we also recommend staying overnight as you can enjoy traditional performances like the Kagura dances along with a leisurely evening in a hot spring.
The most common way to reach the Aki area would be either by JR rail or by bus. Although there are cabs and also a ferry available, JR rail and buses are most recommended when visiting from other locations like Osaka. If you are visiting by car from Osaka please get off at the Aga IC or the Kure IC if visiting from Kyushu. Apart from the Yamato Museum there are many interesting sites to visit, so visiting by car is highly recommended. However, due to limited parking options when boarding the ferry, JR rail might be a better choice for visitors to Okunoshima.
The most popular spot in Aki is arguably the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Kure Museum, featuring the authentic Akishio submarine, Yamato Wharf, JSDF destroyer vessels, submarines and more. We especially recommend the warship cruise that will take you up close to the Yamato wharf as well as the warships. Enjoy the breathtaking sight as your guide explains everything you ever wanted to know about warships, history of Kure and much more.
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