The Bunny Island: Exploring Ōkunoshima, Japan’s Rabbit Paradise

We’ve talked about Japan numerous times in our articles. From the weirdest and spookiest places you could visit, to the cat cafes, to the more spiritual and peaceful sides of this gorgeous country. However, one island nestled in the azure waters of the Seto Inland Sea is still waiting to be explored on our page. The name of the island? Ōkunoshima, affectionately also known as Bunny Island. And what makes it so special? Hundreds of adorable rabbits roam freely across its verdant landscapes. If this sounds like a real-life version of paradise to you, join us on this journey through this enchanting island. You will be transported into a world where fluffy companions region supreme.

The Captivating History of Ōkunoshima

Let’s address the elephant in the room – Why are there so many rabbits living on this island? Well, Ōkunoshima’s journey from a wartime stronghold to a bunny paradise is a tale steeped in history and resilience. During World War II, the island served as a secret site for the production of chemical weapons. Today, artifacts of this tragic past dot the island’s landscape. So, even if you’re not too much of a rabbit person (how could you not be, tho) there’s still so much for you to explore here. From the Poison Gas Museum to the Senkoji Temple, history buffs will absolutely enjoy their time here.

Where Did the Bunnies Come From?

So, back to our question. The reason why there are so many rabbits on The Bunny Island is honestly a mystery. At least to some degree. Ōkunoshima wasn’t open for tourists until 1963, and to say that their tourism didn’t exactly flourish would be a complete understatement. Rumor has it that one of the island’s first hotel managers, Hirofumi Nishiyoshi, decided to give the island a mascot in the hope of promoting it as a holiday destination. The mascot was, you guessed it, a rabbit. He even decided to invite a group of schoolchildren to release eight rabbits into the wilderness in 1971. The rest is history. Or biology, to be correct.


As entertaining as that story may sound, it was never fully confirmed. Regardless of their origins, these furry inhabitants have multiplied and thrived, transforming the island into a peaceful utopia for rabbits and visitors alike. Because they are so used to tourists, the rabbits feel fully comfortable around humans, and you’ll get the chance to interact with them up close. They are friendly and sociable and rarely turn down snacks like carrots or hay. However, it’s advised to only feed them the specially formulated food that’s available on the island.

How to Get There?

Last but not least, let’s explore how you can get there. Access to Ōkunoshima is via ferry from Tadanoumi Port in Hiroshima Prefecture, with regular services departing throughout the day. The ferry journey offers breathtaking views of the Seto Inland Sea, providing a scenic introduction to the island’s tranquil beauty. While most people decide to go on a day trip, you could also stay the night in The Kyukamura Hotel. Prices are around $100 per person per night. Additionally, the island boasts restaurants serving locally sourced cuisine, souvenir shops offering mementos of your visit, and guided tours led by experts.

Kanita is a wanderlust-fueled traveler with an inclination for unraveling the mysteries of history, the paranormal, and the bizarre world of medicine. As a true crime buff, Kanita's nights are often spent delving into the depths of chilling mysteries. Yet, it's not just the paranormal that captivates her—her background in medicine fuels a fascination with the weird and wonderful world of medical oddities, from twisted historical practices to the myths and legends that shroud the field. From exploring haunted locales to uncovering the strange and morbid tales of medical history, Kanita is your guide to the unconventional, the unexplained, and the downright eerie.

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