Was it ever a tourist destination? Not known for it, no.
Generally tourism requires some infrastructure and base population to support it. The islands consist of five uninhabited islets and three barren rocks.
This is not to say that people haven't lived there or tried to occupy in the past. They've been used at various stages as:
- fishing islands
- a fish processing plant was built for over 200 workers (circa 1900)
- this business failed and the islands have been uninhabited since
- US government occupation in 1945, although after handing to the Japanese government, surveying and developing has been prohibited.
- US military has used one of the islands as a practice bombing range
However, tourism has not occurred on the islands, at least not organised tourism as we know it today.
However, as for reaching it, this is possible, although potentially foolhardy and dangerous in the current political climate. A flotilla of fishing vessels sailed there last year during one of the rows in the ongoing dispute, as have some activists, so in theory you could join them or pay a boat to take you there. I think most places would advise against it in the current world political climate, however.