Let’s talk animal cities in Japan. The two most popular would be Nara and Okunoshima (Bunny Island.) However for those wanting to see what other places you can venture off too, click here.
I’m all for seeing animals if it’s for conservation or it’s a sanctuary. Animal Cafe’s are pretty popular in Tokyo, however they’re also pretty well known for being money making over animal welfare. If you must see a café – take a look at listed ones that are recommended here.
Otherwise, go to where the animals are wild and can walk around freely such as Nara and Okunoshima!
Getting to Nara: From Kyoto.
Take the JR Nara Line to Nara Station. Included in the JR PASS.
Take the Kintetsu Line to Kintetsu Nara Station. This is located in a different section of Nara, however is a good start off if you wish to start off with Kōfuku-ji.
Getting Around in Nara
Nara isn’t a very big place and it’s super accessible just by walking!
If you’ve been dropped at the JR Nara Station, or you’re wanting to go to some sites a bit further out then you might feel like taking a bus.
1D BUS PASS
¥1000 | AUD $11 | USD $9
Getting to Okunoshima:
It is recommended to go to Bunny Island via Osaka or Hiroshima. Apart from the Ferry, it’s all-inclusive with the JR Pass.
🚄 The Bullet Train: 2h 25m
Take the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Mihara Station. 2h 25m
🚄 The Bullet Train: 25m
Take the Shinkansen from Hiroshima Station to Mihara Station
From Mihara Station:
🚃 Train 22m
Take the JR LINE to Tadanoumi Station.
🚶🏼♀️ Walk 10m
Walk out of Tadanoumi Station towards the right and follow the road until you see a bridge and take the bend right until you see the Ferry office.
Tickets for the Ferry are ¥310 one way. They depart every 20-30 minutes and the last one returns at around 4:30.
The whole Island is surrounded by these little cuties. They’ll come up to you if you’ve got food but once they realise you don’t? they’ll leave you alone. There is a Poison Gas Museum that I’d suggest going to which gives you an overview in English of what went on there.
WHAT I DID
I essentially did what was written above. Before heading to Nara, I checked out temples in Kyoto in the morning so we didn’t really have a lot of time to see anything other than the deer. I would suggest seeing Buddha Temple in Nara because last time I was there, it was exceptional.
We launched the drone in Bunny Island and had some eagles try to swoop down at it, which was both amazing and terrifying. We ate some ‘fried potatoes’ at the restaurant which [not] surprisingly, was just hot chips.
I would suggest however NOT going back to Tokyo after Bunny Island because that DID take a long time.
We left out luggage at Mihara Station for this. Osaka would have been fine, but it was a long ride back.