Visit Battleship Island

A small island off the coast of Nagasaki, Hashima Island or as the locals prefer – Gunkanjima, 'Battleship Island', has a fascinating history. The island served as a coal mine until 1974 and had a resident population of more than 5000 people. The residents established a self-sufficient society including shops, schools, a public bath, and a hospital, leading Battleship Island, a moniker given due to the fact the densely built-up island began to resemble a massive battleship, to become the most densely populated island in the world.

The island was quickly abandoned after the mine’s closure and remained abandoned for years with only the eerie shells of the huge buildings that once housed the island’s dense population remaining.  The island today has a haunting, mysterious atmosphere and is said to have been the inspiration behind the villain Raoul Silva’s lair in the 2012 Bond film Skyfall. The island, however, has now been opened to the public with visitors able to set foot on pre-designated sightseeing spots as part of a four-hour cruise.

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