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Location DB > Japan > Nagasaki Prefecture > Hashima > Gunkanjima
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 Database Info
created by ex-goose-villager on 5/24/2004 1:50 AM
last modified by Emperor Wang on 4/14/2023 1:54 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
Hashima aka Gunkanjima was re-opened to tourists on April 22, 2009. There are paved paths to follow throughout the island. Tours leave from the ferry port at Nagasakiminato Terminal.
 Basic Information
Type: Outdoors - abandoned reef island
Status: Repurposed as a park with tours
Accessibility: Easy - hop a ferry at Nagasakiminato Terminal
Recommendation: drop everything - must see
 Physical Information
Hashima, Nagasaki Prefecture
Owner: Nagasaki City
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • asbestos
  • rust
  • unsafe flooring
  • flooding
  • water
  • air quality
  • Buildings falling on you, getting arrested, no food or water available...
  •  Interesting Features
    Everything on the island is awe inspiring.
     Security Measures
  • Access prohibited. Police patrol local waters.
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1810
    Closed: 1974
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  • rope
  • harness
  • binoculars
  • gloves
  • head protection
  • long pants / sleeves
  • towelettes
  • Radios, keitais.
  •  Recommended Equipment

    Thoughts on "Gukanjima - View of an Abandoned Island"

    Off the westernmost coast of Japan, is an island called "Gunkanjima" that is hardly known even to the Japanese. Long ago, the island was nothing more than a small reef. Then in 1810, the chance discovery of coal drastically changed the fate of this reef. As reclamation began, people came to live here, and through coal mining the reef started to expand continuously. Befor long, the reef had grown into an artificial island of one kilometer (three quarters of a mile) in perimeter, with a population of 5300. Looming above the ocean, it appeared a concrete labyrinth of many-storied apartment houses and mining structures built closely together. Seen from the ocean, the silhouette of the island closely resembled a battleship - so, the island came to be called Gunkanjima, or Battleship island.

    I was twenty-two when I first visited the island I had dreamed about ever since childhood. Much like a fortress built upon the sea, surrounded by high walls,the island possessed an air of a small kingdom, where its denizens boasted "There is nothing we don't have here." They were right. They did have everything within their miniature kingdom - except a cemetery. But, the irony of it was proven by the passag e of time. Already, the island had been doomed to turn into an enormous graveyard.

    Eventually, the mines faced an end, and in 1974 the world's once most densely populated island become totally deserted. The island, after all its inhabitants departed leaving behind their belongings, became an empty shell of a city where all its peopl disappeared overnight, as if by some mysterious act of God.

    Ten years later, I returned to the island, equipped with food and drinking water. The island was devastated, with the smell of people gone. Inside the buildings, however, evidence of people's lives remained strongly. The strange atmosphere led me to wonder if island had remained in sleep ever since all its inhabitants left.

    As days passed on the island, my impression of it began to change greatly. The innumerable articles left behind, all shrouded in dust, rusted,to me at first seemed merely drifting toward death. Yet, from one point in time, they started to look vivid, and beautiful. I thought perhaps the island, while appearing to fall deep asleep, had gradually commenced to awaken, the day it was deserted.

    Order and value that only prevailed through human existence had long been disrupted. Items were scattered here and there with no context, no ranking. Everything had equal value. The sight I saw spoke of the relationship of the master and servant that had vanished at the time these items were discarded, which liberated them from human reign. To be abandoned meant freedom from all. The items left behind on the island lost their names, their given tasks, even the meaning of their existence. They laid there, as mere "objects." Books and clocks and empty bottles were no longer books and clocks and empty bottles. Things that had been domesticated by humans no longer existed on the island.

    Just as the inhabitants started their new lives by leaving the island, these things too, left behind on the island, shed their identity once forced on by humans, to start their lives as "pure objects."

    Translator: OGATA keiko

    A voyage to the Gunkanjima-island is prohibited currently.

    2002 - Mitsubishi voluntarily transferred Hashima Island to Takashima Town.

    2005 - Nagasaki City absorbs Takashima Town.

    2009 - Hashima was re-opened to tourists. Increasing interest in the island resulted in an initiative for its protection as a site of industrial heritage.

    2015 - The island was formally approved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of Japan's Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining.
     Media Coverage

    Excellent article giving an overview of the island's history.

    Two-part document about Gunkanjima:
     Future Plans
    Opened to limited access via secure walkway in early 2009. More information here:

    Add your own story
     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    Abandoned after 1974
    Mon, May 24th, 2004
    posted by ex-goose-villager
    19 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Occupied prior to 1974
    Mon, May 24th, 2004
    posted by ex-goose-villager
    26 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Gunkanjima - Update One
    Thu, Sep 30th, 2004
    posted by Kuroneko
    20 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Gunkanjima - Update Two
    Thu, Sep 30th, 2004
    posted by Kuroneko
    24 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Gunkanjima - Update Three
    Wed, Oct 6th, 2004
    posted by Kuroneko
    14 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Gunkanjima - Sections.
    Sun, Oct 24th, 2004
    posted by Kuroneko
    4 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Gunkanjima - another view
    Wed, Dec 8th, 2004
    posted by wabisabiman
    18 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Gunkanjima, 1st May 2007
    Fri, May 23rd, 2008
    posted by spiritoflouis
    20 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Period Snaps.
    Tue, Apr 21st, 2009
    posted by Kuroneko
    11 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    End of an Era.
    Sat, Apr 25th, 2009
    posted by Kuroneko
    8 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    No Man's Land
    Fri, Oct 29th, 2010
    posted by edsel
    20 pictures

    Add your own photos

    Mark all galleries as Seen

    Mon, May 1st, 2006
    posted by MCP
     Web Links

    Edit this Location
     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    Category Rating
    Photography 10 / 10
    Coolness 10 / 10
    Content Quality 10 / 10
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Emperor Wang on 4/14/2023 1:55 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Apr 14 23 at 13:55, Emperor Wang validated this location
  • on Apr 14 23 at 13:54, Emperor Wang changed the following: Media Coverage, Future Plans, Description, Web Links
  • on Apr 13 23 at 20:13, fr00tCake changed the following: Owner, History, Status, Accessibility, Recommendation, Description, Web Links
  • on Feb 27 19 at 2:23, Steed validated this location
  • on Feb 26 19 at 20:17, Mr. Bitey changed the following: Web Links
  • on Feb 26 19 at 19:20, Mr. Bitey changed the following: History
  • on Oct 29 10 at 14:37, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on Oct 29 10 at 1:28, edsel added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Oct 29 10 at 1:15, edsel added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Oct 29 10 at 1:09, edsel updated gallery No Man's Land
  •  Forum Threads about this Location
    New Thread
     SubjectStarted ByRepliesViewsLast Post
    You must log in for this feature to work.Tourismyokes526872/27/2009 4:20 PM by Kuroneko
    You must log in for this feature to work.Book?M3G43381410/29/2010 1:04 AM by edsel
    You must log in for this feature to work.UE Dream «1 2 3 »SnArF421951511/15/2012 11:51 PM by RescueMe1060
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