Hello everyone! Thanks (again?) for checking out my blog.
This is a continuation of my short trip westward, and you can check out my previous adventure in my previous blog post.
From Onomichi at 12:45pm, I headed west to Mihara station (a train I almost missed because I was greedy for Onomichi ramen haha). My tip for catching local trains in these parts is to really check the times in advance. If you miss a train, chances are your next one won’t be in another 30 minutes or more.
This is especially important if you have a connection train.
I knew if I missed this one train, the next one would only be in 20 minutes. However, I would miss my connection train completely and I would be stuck at my connection station for an hour or more. That’s time I could have spent in Onomichi, instead of sitting around and waiting for the next train.
Mihara was only a short ride from Onomichi, but there are some photo spots on the train!
About 4 minutes into your ride, you should have a view of the Seto Inland Sea from the left side of the train. Definitely secure a window seat on the left if you can on the local train!
At Mihara, I switched trains to get on the Kure line to go to Tadanoumi station.
Tadanoumi station is the gateway into Okunoshima, and several other islands in the Seto Inland Sea. Due to the boats servicing other islands as well, the ferries can get crowded - especially one that arrives just after a train arriving. Some ferries can take cars along for locals or people trying to get to Shikoku by car whilst doing pit stops on different islands.
Just before heading to the boat terminal though, I highly recommend heading to the family mart to the left of the station exit.
After all, we need to stock up on some food for this human and all the rabbits on the island!
That’s right, this family mart sells food for rabbits. The boat terminal sells a small bag of rabbit pellets for 200 yen, which I find expensive as the bag is quite small compared to the ones offered at the convenience store. The other thing the convenience store sells are carrots and cabbage (at limited quantities), which you can get for a set deal with the pellets.
You can also bring your own vegetables, which will definitely be cheaper overall. But keep in mind that there are no supermarkets close to the boat terminal, so make sure you prepare it on your way.
Once you’re set, head over to the boat terminal!
To buy your ferry ticket, you need to head inside the shop aka the boat terminal and buy them from the ticket machine inside. Everything is labeled in English, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. The timetable for the ferry is inside as well.
If you happen to miss a boat, you can do a bit of shopping and relax with a cup of rabbit coffee inside the shop!
If not, start queuing for the ferry by the docks outside.
The boat ride is only about 10 minutes or so. Sit tight, enjoy the quick view and get ready to get off the boat before it reaches Okunoshima. Some ferries will announce in Japanese that it will only make a quick few minute stop so it can be on its way to Omi Island and be on time, and ask passengers to wait by the stairs on the exit end to make the process faster and smoother. So get ready and don’t miss your stop!
Finally on Bunny Island
Welcome to Okunoshima! You’ve made it, and feeding rabbits is obvious - but where do you go from here?
If you’re staying overnight and arriving just a bit before check-in (around 2:30pm - check-in is at 3pm), I recommend heading towards the direction of the resort hotel, which is the path to the left when you get off the boat.
You will see a shuttle bus (non-staying guests can use this bus too) and I know you will have an urge to get on it, but don’t get on if you’re not on a time crunch.
I’ll tell you right know that the walk from the docks to the resort is only about 10 minutes. If you’re able, definitely walk it so you have more excuses to feed more rabbits along the way!
Feeding the Rabbits
I know this is a no-brained but... SAVE YOUR RABBIT FOOD.
I know, there’s a huge urge to feed the rabbits right in front of the docks because there’s SO MANY ALREADY (and so cute... so so cute when they come and beg you for food), but save the rabbit food! Trust me, there are so many rabbits everywhere you’ll regret throwing all those pellets away so quickly.
If you bought those carrots at Family Mart, make sure to make the carrots worth your while. If you feed the sticks as is, HOLD YOUR CARROT STICKS FIRMLY. They will absolutely tug the carrot out of your fingers and run away with it. So hold it firmly, let the rabbits tug and bite a piece off of it instead of losing your carrot stick and being sad the rabbit ran off with it into oblivion.
Alternatively, you could break the sticks in half, but that’s honestly time no one has when they’re already surrounded by hungry rabbits......
If you are going to attempt to feed the pellets off the palm of your hands, please be careful! You will find yourself surrounded by hungry rabbits almost instantly, and all of them will try to nip a pellet off your hand. You might be bitten by accident. (I did some years ago.. ouch!)
What To Do on Okunoshima
Other than rabbits, there are actually a good amount of things to see on the island. After all, the island does have a history behind it, dating back to the world war. You can still see some abandon buildings from that time on the island.
Head towards the Kyukamura Okunoshima and rent a bicycle from the hotel. You can ride the bicycle around the island, saving you some time to hike up and down the smaller paths to see the abandon buildings along the way, and feed the rabbits.
Persoanlly, I don’t think a bicycle is necessary, but if you are on a time crunch, it might save you some time exploring the island. Just keep in mind you cannot cycle on the offroads, and there are some good uphill slopes on the north side of the island. You may want to rent an electric assist bicycle if you aren’t too physically fit.
Stop by the Okunoshima Poison Gas Museum. It is the brown brick building along the way to Kyukamura. It is a small museum detailing some history of the island I mentioned before, and explanation of some of the abandoned buildings still on the island. Most of the information are in Japanese, but there are a few pictures and artifacts that might be interesting to see. I visited this museum on my previous trips, so I didn’t go in this time. I believe there is a small fee to go inside.
The Visitor’s Center across from the museum is also a great place to stop and take a break. There’s more information on the island itself, mostly about the vegetation and its surrounding areas.
There are also many short hiking trails scatters across the island. The trailheads all start from the main foot path that goes around the island, so they aren’t too hard to miss.
However, my favorite trail that I did on a previous trip. The trailhead starts passed these rabbit ears artpiece by Pier 1. Head towards the beach and into the forested area. You’ll pass a shrine on your way on the right, and a set of staircase. At the end of the trail, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of the Seto Inland Sea. Time it right with the right weather conditions, and you’ll find yourself at the best place to see the sunset on this island.
Unfortunately, all the trails on the island this time (Jan 2020) were closed due to typhoons from previous years. I hope maybe you’ll get some better luck when you go!
Whether or not you can hike the trails though, there are a lot of views of the Seto Inland Seas just along the main foot path. It’s usually not very crowded on the island, so it’s a nice place to relax and clear your mind while being surrounded by some of the cutest animals on the planet.
Definitely make sure you plan enough time to do one circle through around the island on the main foot path. If you walk fast, no distractions, it would take a good hour to do one lap around the island. On bicycle, you can easily cut that time by half.
With the bunnies and abandoned sights along the way though, why wouldn’t you be distracted right? I would definitely give yourself at least 2-3 hours on the island. More if you spare it!
And of course... If you are staying overnight, make sure you stick around for the next post! I’ve got all the tips for you as well!
Check. The. Boat. Schedule.
Both for arriving on the island and leaving the island.
I’ve stayed overnight on Okunoshima twice, and both times I’ve seen some dude who have clearly missed their ferry and have to dally around the pier and the island for another hour more. I mean, it seems like a non-issue when you’re surrounded by rabbits, but if you came here on public transport and you’re still on the island after dark... you should kind of panic. Boat service stops after 19:00, and at that point, it may take you double the time to get to your next destination.
On weekdays, there’s a two hour gap between boat service to Okunoshima around lunch time (12pm to 2pm). Don’t be that smarty pants who gets there at 12:30pm and realize the next boat isn’t until 2pm... (yes that has happened to me once).
In the meantime, check out their website for information on access.