Rabbit Island or Okunoshima (大久野島) is exactly how the title would suggest. This small island in the Seto Inland Sea is home to thousands of friendly rabbits that hop along wherever they feel like. There are campsites on this island but for those who don’t want to spend the night it is easy to do this island comfortably in a day.
Upon arriving you will likely take a short shuttle bus to the visitor centre passing countless bunnies, self-sticks and cute poses on the way as people strive to get that perfect profile picture. Once at the centre you will see just how many rabbits there are, with crowds of them chasing the food on offer.
It’s not all pleasantries on the island though. Rabbit Island has a much darker history than its current state would suggest, once being the production site for Japan’s chemical weapons during World War 2. Removed from maps during the war, this secret spot played a big role in producing poisonous gas for the Japanese army.
Although the rabbits are now undoubtedly the biggest draw for visitors to the island, there is still a chance to visit the poison gas museum and catch a glimpse of the old factories and abandoned military outposts.
Just how the rabbits arrived on the island is a bit of a mystery, with a couple of viable but varying stories on their origin. However with most apartments in Japan now allowing pets, most visitors to the island don’t care how the rabbits came to inhabit the island, instead all they want is a few hours to enjoy the mini stampedes, little hops and endless cute photo opportunities that these furry residents can provide.