If you are visiting Hiroshima or Okayama prefecture this stunning island makes for an excellent day trip. While the most popular attraction of the island are the bunny swarms, many people don't talk about the breathtaking views, crystal clear waters, and stunning beaches. If you are ever in Japan during late spring and early summer, be sure to stay a night on the island and enjoy the beaches and buns!
HOW TO GET THERE
If you are staying in Hiroshima, this island is less than two hours away by train. JR passes will cover the full train ride there (but not the ferry to the island). I suggest using HYPERDIA to plan out the most efficient route to JR Tadanoumi Station where you can board the ferry (620 yen for a return trip). Also, remember to time your arrival with the ferry times for maximum efficiency. It takes a 5-8 minute walk from the station to the ferry port. Just follow the signs or the crowd.
I highly suggest that you try to arrive early and catch the 1st or 2nd ferry to the island if you are making a day trip. This way, you have more bunnies competing for your food and you can spend more time on the beautiful island.
* YOU CANNOT PURCHASE BUNNY FOOD ON THE ISLAND SO BE SURE TO GRAB SOME AT THE FERRY TICKET BOOTH OR BRING YOUR OWN VEGGIES*
SIGHTS TO SEE
Once you disembark after the 12-minute ferry ride, you can choose to walk or take a free bus that drops you off at the only hotel on the island. Again, I recommend taking a walk so that you can admire the view and feed some bunnies along the way.
The area near the hotel is where most of the tourist information and gas factory museums are located. The history of the island during the war is quite interesting as the island itself was erased from maps to hide the production of poison gasses during WW2. You can rent bikes for 600 yen at the hotel desk.
The island itself is very small and very walkable with well-maintained trails. You can visit many of the abandoned military batteries (which are a bit creepy...) and relax under the sun or in the shade. The best way to make your rounds is definitely by bike since you can catch a cool breeze as you admire the views.
If you circle the island, you will inevitably come across the skeletons of the poison gas factory that is fenced off to visitors. It gives off a haunting feeling in contrast to the cute rabbits.
The only place to eat on the island is at the hotel. (sorry guys, no lawsons or family mart on this island.) It's probably best to bring a bento and have a picnic on the beach! If you stay at the hotel on the island then there's no need to worry about meals as that is included. Alternatively, you can also camp on the island.
When I visited the island, I wasn't expecting much from the island itself other than the rabbits but that certainly was not the case. The breathtaking views of the sea and the beautiful beaches almost made me check in at the hotel for another day. I'm sure these photos will speak for themselves.
Although Okunoshima is a bit far away from the major cities, it is definitely day trip or overnight worthy. Please remember to respect the bunnies and don't get bit!