In the Hiroshima prefecture, in the Takehara area, there is a very peculiar and mysterious island that attracts thousands of tourists a year who want to see its cute little inhabitants. Its name is “Okunoshima” and it is colloquially known as “The Island of Rabbits”. Around 1000 rabbits live in the wild within this 700 square meter island. Rabbits are friendly and affectionate with visitors, as long as they respect the established rules.
Okunoshima is a beautiful place, with a spectacular view of the sea and abundant vegetation. Rabbits are scattered throughout the territory, so while exploring the place you can meet many of these beautiful animals.
Being an island, the only way to get to it is through a ferry that leaves from the port of Tadanoumi.
The island has only one restaurant that is within the only Resort Hotel, the “Kyukamura Okunoshima”, where you can stay to calmly observe the beauties of the island.
Currently this place is full of peace and tenderness, but in the past, from between 1929 to 1945, a toxic gas factory was installed on the island for military purposes. It operated secretly and, during this time, the island was erased from the maps of Japan. At that time rabbits were also used to test chemical weapons, but in 1945 the allied forces burned the whole place and annihilated all the rabbits.
Today, the island is one of the few places where building structures and parts of storage can be seen almost intact. Okunoshima is full of significant places for people interested in history. It also has a museum dedicated to explaining the island’s past, the effects of toxic gas, and the importance of peace.
It is said that the rabbits that currently inhabit the island are the descendants of 8 rabbits released by some schoolchildren in 1971. Since then they have been reproducing until reaching the number of today.
In front of the beach there is a camping area. The island has very few spaces to dump garbage, there are no convenience stores or supermarkets, therefore it is recommended to take the necessary precautions.
Okunoshima is a fascinating place, where the vegetation, the history, the rabbits and the sea, become a journey out of the ordinary.
For those who would like to interact with rabbits and / or see large, almost intact historical structures, Okunoshima is the place to be.