Rabbits everywhere on a mysterious island
Okunoshima Island is full of rabbits. They’re like the stray cats in Tokyo, roaming about aimlessly and getting food from strangers — but multiplied twentyfold. The island itself is located on the Seto Sea, near the city of Hiroshima. It makes a good day trip, as it’s about an hour and a half away by train.
A journey to rabbit island
Your first goal is to get to Tadanoumi Station. I went the manual train route (Hiroshima -> Mihara -> Tadanoumi). I’m not going to elaborate much here, because it’s safest to check the directions on the official website. Make sure the times are realistic — ferries typically come only once an hour, and it’s your only way to reach and get off the island.
Once you’re there, head over to the Tadanoumi Port. There, you’ll find a cute little hut where they have the tickets to Okunoshima. Bring JPY cash with you — it’s one of those machines that only takes cash!
Before you board the boat, you can buy a pack of rabbit feed for 100 yen. If you bring it back, you get a little postcard! (A fine way to reduce trash on the island.)
Get your pokeball — er, rabbit feed
When you get off the boat, you’ll see masses of rabbits! They’re used to humans, and enjoy being fed.
The dark history behind Okunoshima
If you already explored Hiroshima, you know it’s heavily influenced by the atomic bomb that destroyed the city. That vibe continues into Okunoshima, previously a hidden location where the Japanese military made poisonous gas for World War II. They took the whole island off the map during that time. If you’re into dark tourism, there’s a small Poison Gas Museum (only about a room big, honestly) that you can get into for 150 yen. You can learn all about the poison gas, and the horrors they brought on people.
Not to totally burst your cute bubble, but the history stands as it is. That said, it’s quite the unique experience to see how peaceful and touristy it is now.
Hungry? Lunch at Kyukamura Ohkunoshima
There are only a few functional buildings on this island, and Kyukamura Ohkunoshima (休暇村大久野島) is the only hotel around. If you’d like to spend the night with rabbits, stay here. And fortunately, if you need to go to the bathroom, get food, or any other regular civilian activity, Kyukamura Ohkunoshima is also accommodating.
We stopped by Kyukamura Ohkunoshima for food. The octopus in this area of Japan is famous, and you can eat it fresh. We got their lunch special, “tako-zukushi” (something like, “eat all the octos”). It was the softest, most delicious octopus I’ve ever had in my life. Makes sense that they only serve 10 of these dishes before they run out.
Another note on Kyukamura — you can also rent a bicycle here (including motor powered ones that make it easy on the hills!).
Had enough rabbit?
No prob, just grab a ferry at the port. Too lazy to walk? Go back to Kyukamura and hop on the free shuttle bus to get to the port.
Just make sure you’re not on the island for too long because the last ferry is at 7:15 pm (at time of writing). There’s no rabbit clubbing out here, so better to head back!