Hashima Island, also called Gunkanjima meaning ‘Battleship Island’, is Japan’s amazing industrial ruins ghost town. It is one among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture . To all of you James Bond fans, did you know this island was the bad guy’s secret hacking headquarters in Skyfall !?
Hashima was bought by Mitsubishi in 1890 to mine undersea coal. It was the first place that Japan built large concrete buildings up to 9 stories high, and was constructed to withstand the destructive forces of nature. These residential buildings later began to act as the ‘blueprints’ for today’s housing projects.
In 1959, the island was recorded as being one of the most densely populated areas on earth. The compact, island which only measures 400 x 160 meters, was home to more than 5000 people who lived and worked there…but that did not last; 39 years later it was abandoned virtually overnight. On ‘Battle Island’ only time and nature were winning the battle.
Mitsubishi San, the owner of the Island, thought it would be more efficient for the workers to live closer to the mines. This is how the island was developed in to a populated city thus including hospitals, schools, shops, cinemas and even a cemetery.
My inspiration to write this article came from a documentary made by Thomas Nordanstad which gives a fascinating insiders view of the island. The documentary follows former island resident Dotokou San who takes the viewer’s with him, deep in to this so called ‘Ghost Town.
In 2009 parts of the Island were opened for tourists. Really want to visit this place but cant go to Japan? Worry not, thanks to Google Street View you can now explore the island sat at home! ps: let someone know your visiting this Island just in case you dont make it back! 🙂 check it out here: