Visiting "Battleship Island," abandoned coal facility off Nagasaki

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We've posted before here and here about Hashima Island, aka Gunkanjima ("Battleship Island") off the coast of Nagasaki that from 1887 to 1974 was a coal mining facility but is now a compound of abandoned, crumbling concrete buildings. Web designer, Japanese teacher, and urban explorer Gakuranman managed to visit and take some wonderful photos of the Ballardian built environment in its glorious decay. From Gakuranman:

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By 1974.. petroleum came in place of coal, the mines were shut down and the now jobless workers were forced to leave. In a matter of days the island was deserted – everything left exactly as it was, to slumber eternally in the same position like a broken clock face.

Since then visitors have been prohibited to land on this haikyo (ruined) island. Right up until April 2009, anyway. The landing ban on Hashima was lifted and the first tourist boats in years were to be allowed to land. My dream of secretly chartering a boat and infiltrating the place under cover of night was dashed.

They made it into a tourist attraction?? How could they!?

But my disappointment was not to last. While it is true that it is no longer illegal to land on the island through the designated tours, it is still prohibited to for individuals to explore deep inside. All the interesting places like the well-known ‘Stairway to Hell’ or ‘Block 65′ may as well be invisible for all the view you’ll get from behind those shiny white safety bars. Yes, it was clear no tourist trip was going to satisfy my curiosity to walk the corridors of a 100-year old structure. Live site or not, I needed to get inside those concrete relics.

"Gunkanjima: Ruins of a Forbidden Island" (Thanks, Doug Rushkoff!)


    1. Because producers usually have a big budget to spend.
      At the same time producers are friends or have good connections with film studios and artists who need to work and make a lot of money.

    2. I understand that they made the sequel to Battle Royale there. But I haven’t seen it so I don’t know for sure.

      Edit: And there has been the occasional glamour model shoot there.

      1.  I’ve seen Battle Royale II and it was definitely filmed here based on the photos I’ve seen (from this article and others). Many of the most iconic and distinctive things on the island were used in the film.

        FYI the movie sucks :) Might be worth watching if you’re really interested in the island, though (and of course the first film is definitely worth watching).

    3. The Nagasaki administration is rather strict about who they let visit the island, and generally only let producers who are detailing the history and cultural aspects of Hashima film there. In other words, post-apocalyptic movies are not the sort of image the city administration wants to present, especially as there is a movement to have the island registered as a world heritage site.

  1. I went to Nagasaki in 2010, and was surprised that there were regular tours to Gunkanjima, though I was a bit disapointed to realise that the official tour didn’t stray far from the landing jetty. Still, the part we could see was sufficiently apocalyptic. It really did look like the aftermath of the nuclear war we had nightmares about in the seventies and eighties.

  2. Anyone know why this site won’t work for me? Homepage loads but any article returns: 
    Warning: file_get_contents(/home/gakuranman/ [function.file-get-contents]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in/home/gakuranman/ : eval()’d code on line 1

  3. My God, I did not know that this place was real. I just thought it was a shared fictional world that popped up from time to time in the manga or anime that I consumed. Well, that’s another one on the list for when I visit Japan some day.

  4. Coal is valued for its energy content. Coal mining can have a large environmental impact and needs to be managed. Coal mining processes are differentiated by whether they operate on the surface or underground.

    Documentary – “Hot As Hell : Long Arm of the Law”reveals widespread incidence of pilferage and illegal mining in the area that have become a way of life for many and a source of livelihood and sustenance for the underprivileged sections of society.

    To watch please visit –

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