Best time to travel to Japan

Okunoshima (Rabbit Island) in Japan

Get smothered by thousands of bunnies at a former secret military base

Best time: November–March

Okunoshima (Rabbit Island)
Okunoshima (Rabbit Island)
Okunoshima (Rabbit Island)

Dozens of fluffy, unbelievable cute bunnies will be eating from your hands, and jumping all over you, when you lie down. If you come to the Rabbit Island with children, they will be definitely grateful for this trip and will remember it for a long time.

The bunnies of Okunoshima aren't like other rabbits across the globe. They aren't afraid of anyone, for there are no predators on the island at all. On the contrary – as they spot a human being, they chase him or her, trying to get some food, especially in the winter when food is scarce.

Getting to the island might be a little complicated, but the bright side of it is the absence of noisy crowds of tourists. Take a 1-hour ride from Hiroshima to Tadanoumi, and then take a ferry which departs every hour, and you will enjoy the lush nature in the company of your new fluffy friends.

The bunnies, according to some reports, appeared on the island as test animals for the lab, producing poisonous chemical gas during the World War II. Another version states that the first bunnies were released by school children who came there for an excursion. Anyway, with good food supply and no predators Okunoshima became a great place for the bunny population to grow. Now there are thousands of them, chasing tourists to get something edible.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Okunoshima (Rabbit Island) in Japan?

The ideal period to visit Okunoshima is from November through March. This is when the weather is much drier and cooler, and the number of tourists is vastly reduced. The bunnies are much more sociable and lively around this time. Summers can be quite unpleasant with high humidity and rainfall, along with an influx of tourists, making it harder to engage with the rabbits. Show more

How do I get to Okunoshima (Rabbit Island) from Hiroshima?

The best way to reach Okunoshima from Hiroshima is to take a train to Tadanoumi station, an hour’s ride from Hiroshima. After that, embark on the Okunoshima-bound ferry to the island. The ferry journey lasts for about fifteen minutes, with awe-inspiring views. A modern and well-appointed vessel, staffed by a welcoming ferryman, transports visitors every hour, and it is advisable to check the time schedules in advance. Show more

Why are the bunnies on Okunoshima (Rabbit Island) so friendly towards humans?

There are various plausible theories as to why the rabbits of Okunoshima are so amicable to humans. One account purports that the rabbits were used as guinea pigs during World War II for testing chemical weaponry and subsequently released on the island. Another story tells of a group of schoolchildren who introduced them on a visit to the island. The rabbits' population grew with the absence of natural predators and the suppression of human behavior towards them, resulting in a clear lack of fear and outgoing predisposition. Show more

Are there any predators on Okunoshima (Rabbit Island)?

There are no predators on the island, meaning that the rabbit population has been unbridled, resulting in thousands of them. Their reliance on no natural predators has also emboldened the rabbits to appear less afraid and more curious about humans, making it a fantastic opportunity to engage with these animals on this unique island experience. Show more

What's the history behind the appearance of the bunny population on Okunoshima (Rabbit Island)?

There are two prevalent theories concerning the origin of the rabbit population on Okunoshima. According to one, the Japanese Army used them as subjects for testing biochemical weapons during World War II. Others say that they were brought over by a group of schoolchildren who later released them. However, their survival and reproduction on the island, coupled with a lack of natural predators and abundant food, ensured a thriving population of these animals, making Okunoshima a unique destination to visit. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin