Japan’s Rabbit Island - A Charming Place With A Dark Past

It is reasonable to think that having a cat island, a deer island, and a hot spring filled with bathing snow monkeys would be enough attractions for a single country. However, Japan would beg to disagree. Along with the aforementioned animal havens, The Land of the Rising Sun also houses an island inhabited with tons of rabbits known as Usagi Shima, or, more appropriately, Rabbit Island.

Rabbit Island in Okunoshima, Japan 

According to records, the chemical weapons program made use of rabbits to see how effective the different kinds of poison gas was. When all evidence of the facility was being destroyed, these rabbits were killed, as well.

After the World War II, the island of Okunoshima was developed into a park. Rabbits were purposely set loose in the area during the park development. The Okunoshima Poison Gas Museum’s former director, Murakami, states that the rabbits that now inhabit the island are not involved with those used for the chemical tests.

There are over three hundred wild rabbits freely roaming around Okunoshima. They are quite tame and will often approach humans, hoping to be fed with nutritious pellets or vegetables. Visitors may buy bunny food at the tourist center but may also bring their own treats.

Cats and dogs are not allowed on the island to keep the rabbits away from harm. Furthermore, hunting them is illegal.

A Guide to Exploring Rabbit Island and Surrounding Areas for Tourists

The island of Okunoshima has been designated as a place for rest and recreation that the Japanese community refers to as kyukamura. Measuring only 4.3 kilometers in diameter, tourists can easily explore the entire island within a day. Other than the chemical weapons facility ruins, the main tourist attractions of the island are the Okunoshima Poison Gas Museum and a 226-meter tall electricity pylon:

Okunoshima Poison Gas Museum

The Okunoshima Poison Gas Museum was established in 1988 and showcases some of the tragic aspects of Japan’s history of wars. It was developed by the local government and residents as a way to fight the national administration that continues to ignore the consequences of the secret chemical weapons program initiated in 1925.

There are only two rooms within the vicinity which make the museum significantly smaller than other museums in Japan. Some of the artifacts displayed at the museum include the diaries of workers from the chemical weapons facility, historical photos, sample weapons, and equipment. Most of the items feature information with English translations.

Address: 5491 Okunoshima, Tadanoumicho, Takehara 729-2311, Hiroshima Prefecture

Admission Fee: 100 yen per person

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, from Wednesdays to Mondays

The Electricity Pylon of the Chusi Powerline Crossing

By Vickerman625 - 投稿者自身による作品, パブリック・ドメイン, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10050253

The Chusi Powerline Crossing features two circuits that run over and across the Inland Sea of Japan. The towers were constructed in 1962 and measure 26 meters in height. One pylon is located in Takehara, Honshu, while the other in the island of Okunoshima. The structure is so massive that it can be seen from Omishima, a town of the Ehime Prefecture.

Tourists who have had their fill of Okunoshima but still have some time to spare are advised to travel to the nearby cities or islands. The region is home to various attractions, the best of which include:

Takehara City

  • Shoren-Ji Temple

    Address: 3-13-1 Honmachi, Takehara 725-0022, Hiroshima Prefecture

Imabari City

  • Oyamazumi Shrine

    Address: 3327 Omishimacho Miyaura, Imabari 794-1393, Ehime Prefecture

  • Tatara Hot Spring

    Address: 7848-1 Kamiuracho, Inokuchi, Imabari 794-1402, Ehime Prefecture

  • Tatara Bridge

    Address: Between Onomichi, Hiroshima and Imabari, Ehime

  • Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari

    Address: 2418 Omishimacho, Urado, Imabari 794-1308, Ehime Prefecture

  • Hirakiyama Park

    • Address: Hakatacho Ikata, Imabari, Ehime Prefecture

Ikuchijima Island

  • Kosan-Ji

    Address: 553-2 Setodachosetoda, Onomichi 722-2411, Hiroshima Prefecture

  • Hirayama Ikuo Museum of Art

    Address: 200-2 Setodacho Sawa, Onomichi 722-2413, Hiroshima Prefecture

  • Kojo-Ji Temple

    Address: 57 Setoda, Setodacho, Onomichi 722-2411, Hiroshima Prefecture

Mihara City

  • Mihara Castle

    Address: Mihara, Tatemachi 1-1-1, Hiroshima Prefecture 723-0004

  • Buttsu-Ji

    Address: 22 Takasakacho Motoyama, Mihara 729-0471, Hiroshima Prefecture

  • Omishima Art Museum

    Address: 9099-1 Omishimachomiyaura, Imabari 794-1304, Ehime Prefecture

Innoshima Island

  • Innoshima Suigun Castle

    Address: 3228-2 Innoshima Nakanoshocho, Onomichi 722-2211, Hiroshima Prefecture

Additional Tourist Information about Rabbit Island, Japan – Map & Access, How to Get there from Tokyo, Hotel Options, and More

Map & Access

The island of Okunoshima can only be accessed through ships. The Tadanoumi Port has ferries that stop at the Okuno Port before heading to the Sakari Port of the Ehime Prefecture. The details of the ferry rides are as follows:

Price (One-way Trip):

  • Sakari – Tadanoumi

    Adult – 360 yen

    Child – 180

  • Sakari – Okuno / Tadanoumi – Okuno

    Adult – 310 yen

    Child – 160 yen


  • From Sakari / Okuno to Tadanoumi

    Ferries are available from 7:00 AM to 6:35 PM at 1-hour intervals at the Sakari Port. All trips, except for those at 7 AM, 8 AM, and 6:35 PM, stop at the Okuno Port. 

  • From Tadanoumi / Okuno to Tadanoumi

    Ferries are available from 7:30 AM to 7:05 PM at 1-hour intervals at the Tadanoumi Port. All trips, except for the 7:30 AM, 5:30 PM, and 7:05 PM, stop at the Okuno Port.

A one-way trip from port to port without skipping the Okuno Port takes about 10-15 minutes.

Getting to the Tadanoumi Port from Tokyo, Japan

The Tadanoumi Port is a 5-minute walk away from the JR Tadanoumi Station. Tourist may reach the Tadanoumi Station through the following directions:

  • Take a train ride from the Tokyo Station to the Fukuyama Station through the Shinkansen Line

  • Take a train ride from the Fukuyama Station to the Mihara Station through the JR Sanyo Honsen Line

  • Take a train ride to the Tadanoumi Station through the Kure Line

Hotel Options

Okunoshima and surrounding areas offer various accommodation options for tourists who want to spend the night or two. There are resorts, inns, hotels, and hostels available around the area that have different kinds of rooms available to help tourists stay within budget. Some of the highly recommended places to consider include:

  • Kyukamura Ohkunoshima

    Address: Okunoshima, Tadanoumi-cho, Takehara City, Hiroshima Prefecture

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 10,400 yen

    Rating: 4.3 out of 5

  • Green Sky Hotel Takehara

    Address: 4-2-18 Chuo, Takehara-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 6,800 yen

    Rating: 3.7 out of 5

  • Kanponoyado Takehara

    Address: 442-2 Nishinocho, Takehara-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 13,900 yen

    Rating: 3.5 out of 5

  • Hotel Kamogawaso

    Address: 445 Nishi Yusaka, Nishinocho, Takehara-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture

    Starting Price (2 Adults, Overnight): 37,000 yen

    Rating: 3.2 out of 5

  • Suminoe Ryokan

    Address: 264-3 Setoda, Setoda-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima, 722-2411, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 9,000 yen

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • Hiroshima Airport Hotel

    Address: 64-25 Zennyuji Hongo-cho, Mihara, Hiroshima-ken, 729-0416, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 6,800 yen

    Rating: 4.3 out of 5

  • Hotel Area One Hiroshima Wing

    Address: 11296-72, Nyuno, Kouchi-cho, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima, 739-2208, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 5,290 yen

    Rating: 4.2 out of 5

  • Forest Hills Garden

    Address: 1361, Kamikita, Hongo-cho, Mihara, Hiroshima, 729-0416, Japan

    Starting Price (2 Adults, Overnight):  25,283 yen

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • Onomichi Kokusai Hotel

    Address: 1-13-6 Shinhama, Onomichi, Hiroshima, 722-0014, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 6,000 yen

    Rating: 3.8 out of 5

  • Green Hill Hotel Onomichi

    Address: 9-1 Higashigoshocho, Onomichi, Hiroshima-ken, 722-0036, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 6,100 yen

    Rating: 4.1 out of 5


    Address: 2-5-1 Koura-cho, Imabari, Ehime-ken, 799-2111, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 12,600

    Rating: 4.3 out of 5

  • Vessel Hotel Higashi-Hiroshima

    Address: 2-6-36 Minaga, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima-ken, 739-0026, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 4,700 yen

    Rating: 4.3 out of 5


    Address: 5-11, Nishi-Gosho-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima-ken, 722-0037, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 9,500 yen

    Rating: 4.6 out of 5

  • Onomichi Daiichi Hotel

    Address: 4-7 Nishigosho cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima-ken, 7220037, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 5,900 yen

    Rating: 3.1 out of 5

  • Onomichi Royal Hotel

    Address: Tsuchido 2-9-27, Onomichi, Hiroshima-ken, 722-0035, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 5,500 yen

    Rating: 3.3 out of 5

  • Onomichi-iori fuu

    Address: 13-20 Higashitsuchido-cho, Onomichi, 722-0927, Japan

    Starting Price (2 Adults, Overnight): 15,700 yen

    Rating: 4 out of 5

  • Fuji Hostel

    Address: 3-30 Toyohimotomachi, Onomichi, Hiroshima-ken, 722-0034, Japan

    Starting Price (1 Adult, Overnight): 2,100 yen

    Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Tips for Tourists When Visiting Rabbit Island

Foreign travelers planning to visit Rabbit Island are advised to take note of the following tips:

  • There is no tissue paper at the Tadanoumi Station so tourists are advised to bring some with them before riding the ferry.

  • A lot of trips to Rabbit Island occur on weekends or holidays. Tourists going to the island on these days should be prepared to stand in line for about 40 minutes at the ferry ticket booth. Accordingly, tourists can also expect a long line before getting on the fer

  • Visitors to Rabbit Island are advised to refrain from giving the rabbits too much food. When the creatures are full, the food is often left on the ground, which creates an unsightly scene.