Take the Okunoshima Ferry to Rabbit Island, Japan

With not one however two Cat Islands, Japan is understood for having tiny islands with vital populations of cute domestic animals. You might already know this however, sure – there’s additionally a Rabbit Island in Japan.

Correctly referred to as Ōkunoshima, this small island is the place to go if you need to see what an island crammed with bunnies seems like! Like so much of Japan, there’s extra to this place than first meets the eye. With lovely natural surroundings and fascinating historical past, there’s extra to do right here than take a look at rabbits, so right here’s what you must know before you go.

11 Issues You Want to Know Before Visiting Japan’s Rabbit Island

Rabbit Island Wasn’t All the time Rabbit Island

It began back in 1971 when an elementary faculty launched simply eight rabbits on Ōkunoshima. Rabbits did what rabbits do, and the rest is history. Meaning they’re not technically wild rabbits, but they’re definitely an enormous colony of feral, domesticated rabbits who have populated the island for nicely over 40 years. To be precise, these are European rabbits, or ana-usagi in Japanese.

By 2013, there were 700 rabbits, so you’ll be able to only guess what number of there at the moment are! We love how the cute sight of all these rabbits has a cute background, too. Nevertheless, there undoubtedly aren’t tens of millions of them, so ensure you aren’t expecting to see that many. It could possibly be just a little disappointing should you have been expecting a literal sea of fluffy bunnies as quickly as you bounce off the ferry.

Rewind additional again in time – let’s say around the early-mid 20th century – and also you’ll discover there have been rabbits on this island again then, too, nevertheless it wasn’t such a cute story, as you’re about to discover out…

Rabbit Island Has A Dark History

At present, there is a large kawaii attraction to Rabbit Island. Japan, nevertheless, hasn’t all the time been about cuteness. Actually, Ōkunoshima has a teensy bit of darkness in its early years of recent history. Properly, greater than a teensy bit.

In 1927, long before the rabbits have been introduced, the Imperial Japanese Government arrange a manufacturing unit that manufactured numerous forms of chemical weapons. Since the Geneva Protocol banned the use of chemical weapons in warfare, Ōkunoshima was nearly wiped from the map. It turned a very secret place; even the ferry port that takes you to the island at the moment still boasts a thick wall separating it from the rest of the town.

Sadly, there have been truly some check rabbits for the chemical weapons introduced in 1929, however they say they have been euthanized by American troops in the late 1940s.  There isn’t a proof that the bunnies now days are direct ancestors from their wartime associates, however I suppose a few of them might have lived and repopulated the island!

We’re achieved with bringing you down about it, so take a look at Ōkunoshima Poison Fuel Museum to study extra. Visiting close by Hiroshima can easily make you overlook that Japan during WWII wasn’t just a sufferer, so it’s necessary to get some perspective, which makes Ōkunoshima a superb place to visit.

Rabbit Island in Japan

It’s Not A Theme Park, So Know Your Dos And Don’ts

Formally, Rabbit Island is a Nationwide Park Resort. The rabbits will chase you! They’re not truly wild. And due to that standing, there are a whole lot of guidelines to think about. We thought we’d simply run down a couple of of them, so you don’t endanger the lives of these fluffy associates.

Firstly, you need to be cautious if you cycle – rabbits aren’t all the time fast to move away from visitors, and that features bikes!

Feeding the rabbits human meals shouldn’t be okay! The rabbits on Rabbit Island, Japan, are totally about their very own food, which you should purchase there at the lodge. Human meals simply isn’t for them. The truth is, they will’t even digest potato correctly, so undoubtedly no chips. Another thing about feeding the rabbits right here is to be sure to don’t feed them on the street; they’ll get distracted with their meal, and consuming at the roadside is dangerous for a rabbit.

They could look super cute, however in all probability the greatest rule to take into consideration just isn’t chasing after or holding them. Rabbits don’t like to be held they usually have have sharp nails. Chasing and holding the rabbits will make them panic. Not cool!

Rabbit Island in Japan

In Japan, Rabbits Are Thought-about Good Luck

Bunny Island was undoubtedly famous in Japan earlier than the remainder of the world took observe. Sure, there’s the entire kawaii attraction of an island full to the brim with cute rabbits, but there’s additionally a special aspect to rabbits in Japanese culture that makes the island that bit extra vital.

These critters are thought-about to be lucky. They typically appear in Japanese folklore, tales, and whilst motifs on all method of issues – from kimono to ceramics. Rabbits usually are not solely a part of the Chinese-influenced zodiac that Japan uses, however they are additionally thought-about to be intelligent, buddies of Shinto (native Japanese faith) gods, and are related to spring.

And one ultimate reality about rabbits in Japan: you understand the Man in the Moon? In Japan, there isn’t a Man in the Moon; as an alternative, it’s a rabbit that folks see once they lookup at these mild and darkish patches on a full moon. It’s not just any rabbit either, however a rabbit making mochi (rice cake) with a specialized conventional hammer. So now you recognize!

Rabbit Island in Japan

You Will Need To Know How To Get to Rabbit Island

Rabbit Island, Japan, just isn’t the type of place you possibly can simply fly to, like Tokyo or Osaka. It’s a small island situated in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, simply off the coast from the city of Tadanoumi in the west a part of the most important island, Honshu. Already that sounds extra difficult than a single flight, right? It’s going to require some legwork do get here, nevertheless it’s definitely doable.

From Hiroshima, you possibly can take the JR Kure Line east to Tadanoumi in the direction of Mihara. That’s fairly sluggish, so you possibly can all the time opt for a 25-minute Shinkansen journey from Hiroshima as an alternative. From Mihara, it’s a bus journey to Tadanoumi.

From Osaka, we advocate that you simply take the very speedy westbound Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Mihara and alter to the bus from there. There’s a more difficult journey you are able to do, however… it’s difficult! Major win in case you have the coveted JR Cross to make this journey happen. Plus, having a JR Cross will mean that either of those options are going to be a good idea for you (and your price range). When you exit the practice station turn right and the ferry terminal is less than a 5 minute stroll away.

To verify the practice schedule look on Hyperdia, and be sure to seize a JR Cross before you arrive in Japan.

Get a JR Rail Cross

From Tadanoumi, it’s a matter of catching the ferry to Ōkunoshima (right here’s the schedule). This prices 310 yen a method, takes about 20 minutes, and runs hourly, roughly. You need to all the time verify the website for circumstances, although. Once I was there there was an enormous bunny sign letting you realize you have been at the right spot.

Rabbit Island in Japan

Bunny Island Has A Seashore!

And never simply any seashore, it’s a reasonably good stretch of pale sand lapped by a turquoise sea. Not solely do rabbits typically congregate on the sand – which makes for a powerful sight, to say the least – but so do humans.

Deliver alongside something to lay out on, be sure to pack a towel, and don’t overlook the sunscreen! Nevertheless, it’s not nearly catching some rays. Swimming right here undoubtedly makes for a refreshing factor to do on Bunny Island when the island (and most of Japan for that matter) will get utterly boiling in the summer time months. Being part of Japan’s Inland Sea, the currents are pretty calm, so you possibly can splash around in the sea all you like.

Followers Of Urban Historical past Will Love Rabbit Island

Thanks to the fascinating (but barely dark) historical past of Rabbit Island, Japan, there are lots of previous buildings left over from numerous levels of its existence. There’s the Poison Fuel Museum to go and see, in fact, however the chemical weapons manufacturing unit itself continues to be standing.

You’ll be able to go see the large energy plant that served the manufacturing unit; it’s an enormous, empty concrete building with vines creeping all around it that makes for an eerie journey and unique photograph alternative (particularly for squeaky clean Japan!).

But there’s more! Even additional back, around 1904-1905, when Japan was preventing a struggle towards Russia, ten forts have been built round the island. You’ll be able to go and see these too and get a sense of the historical past of the place. There’s also an old-fashioned lighthouse here to add to the record of historic buildings that populate the island alongside the rabbits. You possibly can even go up the lighthouse for a surprisingly scenic view.

The sight of disused buildings around the place provides Rabbit Island, Japan, an fascinating, virtually post-apocalyptic really feel… which is a very intriguing contradiction when you consider all the bunnies here.

Rabbit Island in Japan

Deliver Your Own Human Food

Okay, so there’s only one restaurant on Rabbit Island and there’s also just one espresso shop. This may be fantastic whenever you’re visiting out of season. But during occasions like Cherry Blossom Season, Golden Week (the end of April to early Might), and the summer time months – particularly weekends – the island will get fairly busy with guests. It’s greatest to deliver your personal snacks alongside.

You should purchase a number of snacks at the Nationwide Park Resort Lodge on the island, however our advice can be to decide up a number of totally different food and drinks gadgets from one in every of the unbelievable convenience shops Japan has to supply. The truth is, right next to Tadanoumi Station itself, there’s a Household Mart, the place you possibly can decide up the whole lot from a freshly made espresso and gentle drinks to sushi and egg sandwiches. And trust us; all of it is tasty. Comfort stores are all the things in Japan.

Rabbit Island in Japan

You Can Hike On Rabbit Island

It’s truthful to say we’ve come to the conclusion that this place isn’t all about the rabbits. There’s undoubtedly a number of things you can be doing on Rabbit Island, Japan, aside from photographing those rabbits (though they’re fairly cute). A type of things is mountaineering.

That’s right – there are a fair few mountaineering trails on the island, which is a majorly good thing, because it’s a gorgeous place. Not solely are you able to trace your method around the coast on numerous strolling routes, but you may as well make your approach up to the highest point of the island. We highly advocate doing this.

The view from the summit of Rabbit Island is a 360-degree panorama of what the Seto Inland Sea is legendary for – islands, and plenty of them. The sight of all these small islands layering up on the horizon is fairly beautiful, to say the least. The trailhead for this specific hike may be discovered between the campsite and the customer middle.

One other more coastal stroll runs from Ōkunoshima Pier 1 and around the south of the island, where there isn’t any street – just strolling trails. Right here is the place you’ll discover the historic lighthouse, superb sea views, fascinating buildings leftover from occasions gone by, and perhaps a number of bunnies, too!

You Can Even Keep On Rabbit Island

You could assume that is the sort of place that’s solely value a day trip and nothing more, but there usually are not only one but a couple of causes to keep on Rabbit Island in a single day. There’s the campsite which we just talked about (with room enough for ten groups), and the National Park Resort Lodge, which boasts its very personal onsen (scorching spring). Even when you select the campsite, don’t worry; you possibly can take pleasure in the onsen even in case you’re not a visitor – but you’ll have to pay an entry payment, in fact.

First off, and especially in case you are visiting during summer time or high season, it’s your decision to stay overnight so that you simply get the place – and the rabbits – all to yourself in the early morning. Secondly, staying overnight undoubtedly provides the place a special vibe. You might assume it’s only a vacationer vacation spot, but you’ll have an unprecedented view of the stars at night time. Plus, rabbits are extra nocturnal than they’re fans of hopping around in the day time; you’ll get to see a unique aspect to them, too.

Thirdly, staying here might be the start of a singular means to see Japan by island-hopping around the Seto Inland Sea. This space of the country is studded with islands, and the next logical selection after Ōkunoshima is the a lot bigger Ōmishima to the south. Catch the ferry from Pier 1 to right here. Actually, on Ōmishima, you’ll be able to decide up the well-known Shimanami Kaido cycling route, which runs between Onomichi on the mainland and Imabari on the island of Shikoku.

Ebook Your Rabbit Island Hote Early!Rabbit Island in Japan

How Much Does Rabbit Island Value?

There isn’t any entrance charge to enter Rabbit Island. Your prices can be the practice to get to Tadanoumi, in addition to the ferry on and off Okunoshima. You’ll additionally need to account for issues like rabbit food, and your personal private meals.

There’s not lots on the island apart from the museums and lodge, so ensure you come with sufficient cash to get you something you might need. Your last probability at an ATM will probably be in Tadanoumi.

Okunoshima Ferry

Quick Japan Travel Ideas

  • ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Japanese: “Kon’nichiwa” and “Arigatō”
  • How to say ‘Rabbit’ in Japanese: Usagi
  • Foreign money: Japanese Yen – (JPY) – ‎¥
  • Visa: Most Guests to Japan can enter visa free for up to 90 days.
  • Weather: The climate on Okunoshima varies depending on season. Japan celebrates four seasons. In the winter you possibly can anticipate colder, windy temperatures, whereas summer time is scorching and humid. Spring and Fall are implausible occasions to go to as the air is cool and crisp

What to Pack for Japan

Delsey 24″ Spinner

Delsey makes my favorite arduous aspect luggage, and after five years of journey around the world, they’ve yet to let me down. Plus their luggage look incredibly trendy, have heavy obligation wheels, TSA accredited lock and two full packing compartments with tie-down straps and a zippered divider. If you’d like one thing totally different, take a look at our other favorite keep on baggage items.

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Keep on Backpack

Knack Backpack

So far as design the Knack Expandable Backpack is certainly one of my favorites in the travel world. Every part about this pack has been properly thought out, and I’m impressed by the group of the pockets and the ridiculous amount of features in such a small format. Critical kudos to the designers of this pack. There are a number of journey backpack corporations popping up nowadays, however the overwhelming majority of them are missing when it comes to construct quality — not the case with this pack.

Knack Giant Expandable Backpack

Travel Water Bottle

The faucet water in Japan is clean, so there isn’t any want to purchase plastic water bottles and contribute to our world’s plastic drawback. We’ve shifted to utilizing an insulated aluminum water bottle because it handles the scorching sun nicely and in addition retains drinks warm when want be. See all of our favorite water bottles right here.

Examine the prices here!

Smith Lowdown 2

For those who’re visiting during the summer time, you want sun shades in Japan. Smith makes my favorites. The Chromapop lens technologyis like seeing the world with a recent set of our eyes. They improve distinction, scale back glare, and reflection for grand vision whereas driving, walking around city, or out on the water. We also love the fashion of glasses for anybody who likes to reside an lively way of life.

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It is thought-about impolite to wear your footwear inside in Japan so most locations offers you slippers to stroll round with once you’re taking your footwear off at the door. Nevertheless, I by no means discovered these slippers snug and would somewhat have my very own from house.

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Walking Footwear

You’ll be doing a variety of walking in Japan, particularly in case you are hanging out in cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Sapporo, or Osaka. Be sure that your ft don’t want to kill you and get a pair of excellent males’s strolling footwear or ladies’s walking footwear.

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Journey Pillow

Japan is likely a great distance from where you live, and I can’t stress the significance of the proper travel pillow for that long-haul flight.

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Digital camera Gear

Likelihood is you’ll need a digital camera on your trip to Japan. Our favorite pocket-sized point and shoot digital camera for quick trips are the Sony RX100V. It takes unbelievable photographs and video and is the measurement of your palm. To up your images recreation, a bit think about the Fuji X-T3. We simply purchased that digital camera and located the photographs to look superb. Take a look at our other journey cameras right here.

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Kindle Paperwhite

Take a look at a few of the greatest sellers right now and decide up a replica. There’s nothing higher than enjoying a great guide underneath the comfort of a Japanese katsu desk. I’ve just lately upgraded to the Kindle Paperwhite. It’s small, has touchscreen features, and a backlight in order that I can read at night time with no harsh glare.

Examine the prices right here!


Japan mainly uses the Sort A plug like North America, but there’s usually no socket for the grounded portion. Ensure you discover a good universal adapter like the one I have to hold you charged. Otherwise, you could wrestle to find one when you land.

Journey Insurance coverage

We don’t journey without journey insurance coverage and neither do you have to. You by no means know what can happen abroad and it’s greatest to be prepared. World Nomads supplies good brief time period coverage.

SafetyWing is perfect for digital nomads. See our full evaluate here!

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Final Updated on July 19, 2019