A Must-Visit: The Bunny Island in Japan

Must-Visit in Japan: Rabbit Island

“Kawaii” in Japanese means cute. If you are looking for somewhere cute to visit in Japan, Bunny Island is a must-visit place!

 

Two miles off the coast of the Japanese city of Takehara, in Hiroshima Prefecture, that is around 12-15 minutes ferry ride, you will be welcomed by a bunch of cute little bunnies ruling the island. These bunnies are estimated to be around 1,000 in population as of today. 

 

Ōkunoshima is a small island in the Seto Inland Sea. The island has a dark mysterious past and previously called the Poison Gas Island. According to history, the Japanese Imperial Army manufactured thousands of tons of poison gas during World War II in a facility. Based on an article written by The New York Times, the posion gas was used against Chinese soldiers and civilians in the 1930s and 40s during the war in China, killing about 80,000 people. Now, the factory has become a famous go-to fieldtrip destination for local school children known as the Poison Gas Museum. Elderly tourists are also drawn to the island’s relaxing hot springs.

 

Once with a dark past, the rabbits are bringing so much joy to the locals. The hype began when one of the tourist’s videos went viral on social media showing a stampede of bunnies on the island! The island had 136,000 visitors in 2005, which ballooned to 254,000 in 2015 after that particular video went viral online. A large number of the visitors are foreigners. 

 

So, how did these bunnies came to Ōkunoshima? Some say they were descendants of the original rabbits brought to the island to be tested with poison gas during the war and some claim that a nearby kindergarten school brought 8 rabbits in 1971 because they can no longer take care of them so after that, they just reproduced to a thousand since there are no other predators in the island! 

 

Indeed, there are too many rabbits for a small island! So, you can expect that there will surely be a stampede of rabbits especially when you try to feed them. But just be very careful with what you feed them. The influx of tourists has also raised danger to the rabbits. People usually bring in foods that are giving them some gastrointestinal problems such as cabbage that are found poisonous to these herbivore rabbits. These bunnies also need high-fiber foods, which are hard to come by with their current meal plan. On the island, they usually munch on leaves, roots, wood, and seeds,

 

If you want a sneak peek of the island, check out the video called The Mystery of Rabbit Island in the Great Big Story’s Youtube Channel below. Enjoy!

 

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