Japan's rabbit island might be the cutest place on Earth

Rabbit Island japan
Video screen capture Vitaly Petrukhin

Okunoshima is a Japanese island with a circumference of about two and a half miles and is home to a hotel, a camping ground and a golf course. There's also a small museum that stands as a reminder of the chemical weapons production that happened on Okunoshima during World War II. None of these things are what attracted a recent spike in tourism.

The island has become a travel destination thanks to its population of semi-wild rabbits, who face no natural predators. There are an estimated 300 bunnies bounding about, with all the associated adorableness.

Ikumi C/CC BY 2.0

Laura Moss writes for our sister site, MNN, that the rabbits may have been brought to Okunoshima as test subjects for poison gas development. "Other sources say that a group of schoolchildren on a field trip released eight of the animals in 1971," she writes.

One might argue that the bunnies are a kind of invasive species, but it doesn't seem like the rabbits have become a problem as they did on the Scottish island of Canna.

Ran Zwigenberg. Rabbits meander in front of a WWII chemicals facility. /CC BY 2.0

Sebastian Murdock over at HuffPo found the recent video below, which apparently shows a tourist being chased by a stampede of bunnies. Yes, a stampede of bunnies.

Since first publishing this post, I've been informed that the young woman who created and appears in the video is Yu Yu Lam.

It's not surprising that the rabbits have come to expect visitors to bring them food. Here's an another adorable video of rabbits interacting with tourists.

Do you know of anywhere cuter? Tell us in the comments. We're all ears.

Tags: Animals | Japan

Best of TreeHugger