Rabbits, rabbits everywhere!

Okunoshima is a small island located in the Seto Inland Sea within Hiroshima prefecture. This place is a little off the beaten path but thanks to the Internet and social media, Okunoshima is slowly making a name for itself. Chances are you’ve seen some video or article about it on Facebook. If not, welcome to Japan’s very own rabbit island.


Yep, an island populated by rabbits. Just the sound of it had me going “D‘aww…“.  The rabbits are wild – they don’t like to be handled or petted but they will approach humans and tolerate some amount of petting for food.

IS7A6261The weather was beautiful that day. There were not many people around so it was quiet and peaceful. I can probably sit around all day photographing the rabbits go about their business.

IS7A6286Now let’s get to the twist of the story. Despite the cute and cuddly front, Okunoshima has a dark history. This island was used to manufacture and store chemical weapons during the war. In fact, one theory suggests that the rabbits were originally used for testing chemical weapons and were released after the war was over. Another theory is that the rabbits were released on the island by schoolchildren on a field trip.


The ruins of war time buildings can still be found on Okunoshima. This building was the power plant that used to supply the island’s energy demands. Today, only the outer shell of the building remains. It has been left in a state of disrepair so naturally people are not allowed inside for safety reasons.

IS7A6347Elsewhere on the island, there is also a hotel (where you can buy rabbit food) and a museum on poison gas weapons. Unfortunately, the museum was closed when I visited – it was the end of the year holidays. Oh well, more time for the rabbits.

IS7A6272Finally, there is an observation platform with some great views of the Seto Inland Sea. Getting to the platform requires one to negotiate a rather steep uphill climb though. But you can always take breaks along the way to feed some rabbits. Yes, rabbits are everywhere on this island.

IS7A6488Here’s the view from the observation platform. The transmission tower seems a bit out of place in the photo but I thought it provided an interesting subject contrast (man-made vs nature).


I had a pleasant day at Okunoshima. It was the perfect combination of two things that I like – history and kawaii (that rhymes!). I highly recommend making a day trip to the island if you are in Hiroshima. This would be a great place to bring the kids I reckon.


Getting to the island is a little tricky as you need to time your trains correctly followed by a short ferry ride. I was stuck at the station for 1 hour waiting for the next train. D’oh! For directions to Okunoshima, I referred to this article from ZoomingJapan.com.


13 thoughts on “Rabbits, rabbits everywhere!

  1. this island is A DREAM!!!! bunnies are so lovely & i do like petting & cuddling them— only because they’re so warm & furry!!!! 😀 😀 😀 when is your stint in japan ending? will you not renew your contract? oh, what i would give to be in japan!

    • Not sure if you are fond of cats but there’s also a cat island somewhere else in Japan!

      Actually I’m supposed to be leaving next month but I’ve extended my contract until Dec 2014. Whether they give me another extension or not will depend on how the project goes. I suppose if there are more delays, they will need me around for awhile more 🙂

  2. I love Rabbits very much and your excellent photography makes them even more cuter and lovelier!
    There’s a coincidence that Nagasaki has this Hashima Island which I blogged about and now Hiroshima has this unknown island too. I do plan to visit Nagoya during CNY 2015 and take trains everywhere including Hiroshima too. Where do you live now? I won’t disturb you la.

    • Yes, I read about Hashima Island on your blog and I’m convinced that I should make a trip to Nagasaki. Haha. I’m living in Yokohama now. Conveniently close to Tokyo but not as busy or packed with people. I like it here 🙂

  3. Wow! Amazing photos! 🙂

    I got a friend who’s crazy about rabbits, she has one she taught to actually shake hands with people!

    That’s a beautiful place! I must remember to come here when we go to Japan!

    • Yep it is indeed a beautiful place HB. Best of all this place is off the tourist trail so it’s quiet and peaceful. One of the things that tick me off the most about traveling in Japan is the crowds. Can’t get a decent photo without someone walking into my frame or shoving me aside.

      • Haha! Yeah, I know what you mean, it can be very irritating to take photos at famous tourist destinations! 🙂

        Rabbits can breed super fast too, they’re considered a pest in Australia, can’t eat them fast enough before they overpopulate and eat stuff that other species needs.

        I always love your photos, I’ve heard about the rabbit island before but never seen it so well until I saw your awesome photos!

        • Is that why they use rabbit meat quite often on MasterChef Australia? Haha. I remember seeing it in a few episodes in the Mystery Box challenge. I guess one man’s pet is another man’s pest.

  4. Very cute indeed. I hadn’t heard of Okunoshima before your post- or it’s little inhabitants. Will have to go do a some research now.
    Beautiful shots too, Vincent.

    • Thank you for your kinds words Distan 🙂
      Okunoshima is indeed not very well known. In fact, my Japanese colleagues had never heard of the island until they asked me how I spent my holidays (to be fair they are from Tokyo).

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