Gunkanjima Island was once a thriving coal mine with
over 5000 residents living on the battleship shaped
island until 1974. It is located 9 miles away from the
of Nagasaki and can only be reached by boat. The
formal name of the island is Hashima, but the
Gunkanjima, which means Battleship Island, is more
popularly known. It had the highest population density
the world before the mine was closed off. In 2015
Gunkanjima Island was designated a UNESCO World
Heritage Site along with many other places that were
important during the Meiji Industrial Revolution.
Coal was first found on Gunkanjima back in 1810 by a feudal lord of Saga. Industrial mining did not happen until the late 1800s. This happened during the beginning stages of the Meiji Period (1868-1912) and the island was later bought by the Mitsubishi Corporation. As production increased so did the development on the island. At one time there was a hospital, industrial buildings, schools, restaurants, residential complexes, and many more. After Gunkanjima was abandoned it became directly exposed to typhoons, which led to the deterioration of the buildings. For many years it was closed off to the public until 2009 when a boat dock was built.
Please see below for tours that include Gunkanjima Island: