Did you know there’s an island covered with rabbits in Japan?
Ōkunoshima/Ohkunoshima island, which is located in the Setouchi Inland Sea and belongs to the city of Takehara, is known as “Rabbit Island”. There are no people living in there, but hundreds of wild rabbits!
It takes 15 minutes by boat from Tadanoumi port, in Takehara. Tadanoumi station, (the nearest train station), is a 2 hour train ride from Hiroshima by train.
Of course you can see the many rabbits there, but also you can go up to a viewing platform on a small mountain, or stay the night at a hotel or a camp site on island.
How many rabbits are there?
According to Wikipedia, there are more than 700 rabbits living on the island. You will be welcomed by lots of colourful rabbits as you get off a boat.
I recommend you visit early in the morning, or stay the night. Why? Because there is not so many people in the morning. I always take the second earliest boat. I once took the noon boat, but there was a long queue to ride the boat, and some of rabbits looked tired when I arrived. You can surely enjoy even if you arrive later, but I always prefer arriving earlier.
What other attractions are there?
There are plenty more activities to enjoy:
- Beaches and a pool in summer
- Ground golf, badminton, and tennis
- Mountain walking & beautiful viewing spots
- Usanchu Cafe
- Visitor Centre & Workshops
- The Poison Gas Museum
- Hotel & camping
The beach and a pool opens in summer. Usually these activities open for a month from the middle of July. You can rent swimming rings and buy something to eat or drink. It is free to visit the beach, but 400 yen for the pool. Hotel guests and children under 12 are able to get a discount. Actually this island has a beautiful and clear beach. You must go to the beach in summer!!
Ground golf, badminton, and tennis
As for other outdoor activities, you can rent ground golf, badminton, or tennis equipment at the hotel, even if you aren’t a hotel guest. Be careful not to hurt the rabbits with golf balls…!! 🙁
Mountain walking & beautiful viewing spots
Ōkunoshima island has a small mountain. You can enjoy mountain walking with rabbits. From the mountain, you get some amazing views of the Setouchi Inland Seas. It’s a great place to take photos with your family/friends 🙂
In fact, this island is really small and you can cycle around it. The cycling road is only 4 km. Of course there are rental cycles at hotel, so it is easy way to go around to see the whole island.
One of my favourite places on the island is a cafe called “Usanchu Cafe” in the hotel. Usanchu means Huge fan of rabbits. They provide special coffee, milk & fruit jam soft drinks, soft creams, Japanese curry, and so on. They use one of the most famous jams in Japan which is made in Tadanoumi. Get the best refreshments here!
Visitor Centre & Workshops
Near the beach, there is Visitor Centre. They exhibit fish living around the island. There are also workshops. You can make pretty crafts using natural materials there. But make sure to check whether or not you can take them through customs on the way back home…
Ōkunoshima island has a historical side. During World War 2, there was a secret place uesed to develop poison gases. Maps at that time didn’t show this island. If you are historical person, it will be of interest to visit the museum.
As I said before, there is accommodation on the island. One is a hotel, called “Kyukamura OHKUNOSHIMA (English)(JAP/日本語)(簡体)(繁體)(한국)”. And they own the other one, camping site. The hotel has an onsen (hot spring). If you are not a hotel guest, the onsen will cost 410 yen to use. It will be good experience, although there are no snow monkeys or rabbits in there with you, haha.
From Hiroshima Station to Tadanoumi Station:
- Kure Line (Train): Hiroshima Station-> Hiro Station (You may need to change trains) -> Tadanoumi Station. [1320 yen and 2 hours for one way]
- Shinkansen + Kure Line(Train): Hiroshima Station -> Mihara Station (Change from bullet train to normal train) ->Tadanoumi Station. [Up to 3740 yen and 50 minutes for one way]
From Hiroshima Airport to Tadanoumi Station (Fastest & Cheapest):
Get on a shuttle bus called “Jumbo Taxi” from Hiroshima Airport to Takehara Station. [1000 yen and 25 minutes for one way] Then you get on a train to Tadanoumi Station. [200 yen and 15 minutes for one way]
From Tadanou Station to Ōkunoshima Island:
Walk from the train station to the Tadanoumi Port following instructions at the station, or a Map App (ex. Google Maps).[5 minute walk] Then you can buy tickets at the port. Ride on a boat/ferry! [310 yen and 15 minutes for one way]
Have a Fun with the Rabbits 😉
Are you planning to travel to Japan? Tokyo? Osaka? Kyoto? These are also nice cities to visit, but do not forget about the Setouchi Inland Sea Area, including this Rabbit Island!
Takehara city has another special place to go. After Rabbit Island, visit the traditional streets, called “Takehara Townscape Conservation Area”, near Takehara train station.