About Rabbit island Ōkunoshima
Okuno Island is one of the islands in the Yeiyu Islands in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan, located about 3 km offshore from Tadami-cho, Takeshara City, Hiroshima Prefecture, with a coastline of 4.3 km. The island was used as a site for manufacturing chemical weapons during the war, so it is called “Gas Island”. It is also known as “Rabbit Island” because of the many rabbits that inhabit the island.
At the end of the Heiyo War, 3,270 tons of poison gas were left on the island. After the war, the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces in Japan and the Japanese government dismantled the gas production facilities and destroyed the weapons left behind, but they were unable to completely clean up all the weapons, and the soil 4-5 meters below the island still contains high concentrations of the toxic substance arsenic. Okuno Island remained an uninhabited island for a long time after the war ended. The rabbits used for experiments in the research facility were abandoned along with the manufacturing facility, and they became the only inhabitants of the island, breeding in the warmth and in good conditions without natural enemies. Subsequently, the opening of the National Leisure Village and the Okunoshima Toxic Gas Museum made rabbits one of the island’s special features.
Currently, there are about 300 rabbits living on Okuno Island, and about 100,000 tourists visit this “rabbit paradise” every year. To protect the rabbits on the island, dogs are not allowed on the island, except for assistance dogs.
How to get there
Since Okunojima floats in the Seto Inland Sea, visitors can take a ferry from Chukai Port in Takehara City, Hiroshima Prefecture.
The nearest station to Chukai Port is JR Chukai Station.
Trains and buses are available from within Hiroshima Prefecture.
There are various products such as sweets, stationery, mugs and tote bags with rabbit motifs.
You can’t help but be dazzled by the variety of products.