A former coal mine in the middle of the sea, Hashima Island, also known as Gunkanjima (Battleship Island), is located nine miles from mainland Nagasaki. This uninhabited island has gained fame for its battleship-like silhouette and has become one of japan‘s most unlikely tourist attractions. With its eerie atmosphere and the remnants of its former coal mine, Gunkanjima offers a unique glimpse into Japan’s history.
To visit Gunkanjima, tourists must join one of the organized tours that run several times a day. These tours depart from various locations in Nagasaki Port and have different options regarding language availability, age restrictions, health restrictions, and other factors. The journey to Gunkanjima takes approximately 30 minutes one-way, and it is highly recommended to make advance reservations, especially for weekends and holidays. However, tours may be canceled during severe weather or unfavorable conditions.
Gunkanjima is known as an uninhabited island of ruins. Despite its small size, measuring only 480 meters long and 160 meters wide, the island was once a bustling community with a hospital, two schools, shops, and even a temple and shrine. Developed by Mitsubishi, Gunkanjima was a hub of national coal mining, and its population reached an astonishing 5,300 people at its peak. However, as energy needs changed, the coal mines were closed, and the island was quickly abandoned around 1974.
For years, Gunkanjima was left to the elements, becoming a grim symbol of Japan’s rapid industrialization. However, in 2009, the island opened to tourists, sparking an interest in abandoned ruins tourism. In 2015, Gunkanjima was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can now observe the weather-beaten relics and decaying buildings up close, gaining a deeper understanding of Japan’s industrial past. Even from Nagasaki’s southern tip, on clear skies, it is possible to view Gunkanjima and see the deserted buildings and the light filtering through the crumbling windows.
It is important to note that visitors cannot explore Gunkanjima alone due to the island’s structural instability. All visitors must travel in tour groups, and tours may be canceled due to bad weather. It is advisable to avoid planning a trip during typhoon season, rainy season, or winter months. Additionally, access to the island may be denied for health reasons, and some tours are not wheelchair accessible. It is recommended to check with individual tour operators for specific terms and conditions. Visitors must also sign a safety contract before participating in the tours.
In conclusion, Hashima Island or Gunkanjima is a former coal mine located in the middle of the sea near Nagasaki. Despite its small size, the island was once a thriving community with various amenities. However, it was abandoned in the 1970s and left to deteriorate. In recent years, Gunkanjima has become a popular tourist attraction, offering visitors a glimpse into Japan’s industrial history. With organized tours, visitors can explore the island and witness the remnants of its past. However, it is important to plan ahead and be aware of any restrictions or cancellations due to weather or health concerns. Gunkanjima is a unique destination that combines history, industrial development, and the beauty of nature.
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