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!)

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