Hiroshima,  Japan Culture,  Japan Travels

Okunoshima: Japan’s Rabbit Island

Japan has a few special places that make my animal-lover side go wild (pun intended). You might have heard of the Fox Village or the Cat Island, but the top of my bucket list has always been for Okunoshima, the rabbit island in Hiroshima prefecture.

The small island is totally dedicated to its habitants, around 700 wild rabbits, that roam freely and fearlessly come greet their visitors  in the hopes of getting some bunny food. The rabbits are indeed wild, so a little respect and common sense is advised.  Holding them is prohibited, and you should be careful when feeding them because they can bite (and trust me, a rabbit bite hurts A LOT),

As long as you’re nice, they will come around you, ask for food and maybe even let you lightly pet them. While strolling around the island, you can see them in their habitat, basking in the sun, playing with each other or adorably grooming themselves. A truly heartwarming experience, specially for the bunny-addicted (like me, no shame here).

Okunoshima has a dark history as it was used for secretly developing chemical weapons during the war. The ruins of the plant are still standing up as you can see in my gallery. There were bunnies at that time, being used to test the chemical weapons ( ????) but they were killed and are not related to the ones roaming free now. The new rabbits were released on purpose and are protected. Hunting is forbidden, and no dogs or cats are allowed in the island.

The island is 15 minutes away by ferry from Tadanoumi station. At the station you can find a rabbit shop with some merchandising and bunny food bags for 100Y each. Do buy the food there as it is not sold in the island itself. I bought 4 bags there and brought three bunny-safe salads from home and I think it was enough to feed many rabbits. Oh, if you bring back your empty bunny food bags to the store, they will give you free postcards!

Overall I left with a good aftertaste. I was worried about it being an unethical place but I left feeling great after spending a few hours there. The island is beautiful, surrounded by clean waters and nice beaches,  the bunnies were free and looked very happy,  not skinny at all and quite healthy.

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As always, hope you enjoyed my pictures and talk to you guys soon!

 

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