Do you have a penchant for the fluffy and cuddly? Well, good news! It turns out there is a place in Japan that is literally crawling with squee-worthy bunnies. About 300 of them, in fact. They aren’t even fenced in, but are living their adorable little lives running free on an island.
That island is Hiroshima Prefecture’s Okunoshima, and I went to check out this oasis of cute for myself.
Okunoshima, which is located in the Inland Sea off the coast of southern Japan, was once a Japanese Army manufacturing site for poison gas. Now, however, it is a peaceful haven for rabbitkind. There are various theories about where the rabbits came from, but one thing is for sure: there are a lot of them. Currently, a holiday village providing accommodation is being completed.
But let’s get to looking for those cuties! Without really having to search, I located a thicket on a hill that was home to a bunch of bunnies. Among them, there were some even brave enough to lie around in an open field. Just seeing them from a distance was enough to raise my spirits and get me grinning.
Knowing it would be torture not to touch these little balls of fluff, I came prepared with some rabbit food. I put some out and, sure enough, the rabbits came hippity hoppiting up. One bite was enough to make them hungry for more, and soon they were eating out of my hands. Too cute! After that, I spent a satisfying day wandering around this rabbit paradise, handing out food and petting the critters in a delirium of happiness.
It’s already turning colder, but according to the staff on the island, the winter months are actually the best time to come in contact with the animals, since food is scare. During this season, the rabbits will even come up to you, begging for food. Just imagining myself surrounded by a horde of little bunnies was enough to make me pass out from the cuteness…
There are a few things for visitors to keep in mind.
There are things, such as onions, that rabbits can’t eat. Whether they are fresh or old, they will upset the rabbits’ digestion, so it is better to give them dried rabbit food or the food that they sell on the island.
Also, don’t forget that the rabbits on Okunoshima are wild animals, and allowing children to run willy nilly after them can result in injuries on both sides, so please keep an eye on the kids. There are rabbits that really like humans and will allow you to touch them if you have the patience to build a rapport first.
To get to Okunoshima, take the Sanyo Shinkansen to Mihara Station, change to the Kure Line and get off at Tadanoumi Station. From there, it’s a 12 minute ferry trip to Okunoshima.
For more information (in Japanese), see http://goo.gl/MFDbb.
Come over here, cutie!
Nibble nibble, everybody, eat up!
[ Read in Japanese ]