Travel Stories

A travel blog for a long-term expat, backpacker, traveler, ESL teacher, and photographer. 

Hashima / Gunkanjima

DOJ_5682.jpg

Hashima Island was a huge factor into my decision to visit Nagasaki. It is an abandoned island fifteen kilometers outside Nagasaki. I love abandoned eerie places but this not just an abandoned island. Beginning in 1887, coal miners and their families lived on the island. At its peak in the 1950s, over 5,000 people called this island home. There were swimming pools as well as schools, apartment blocks, and shops. However, when coal was replaced by gasoline in the 1960s, the coal mines began closing and Hashima was no exception. This island used to be a home. In more recent times, the island was used to film parts of Skyfall – the James Bond film and since 2009, this has been opened to tourists. Now, the tour itself isn't very cheap and it also isn't very English-friendly. Although there weren't too many foreign tourists, there was little to nothing available in English which very quickly became an excitement killer. Because of safety, there is only one walking path and those on official tours saw a very limited part of the island. The cool apartment blocks that are featured on promotional websites cannot be accessed by the walking path. Regardless, it was still rubbles of a city and still had some interesting components. One day I'd like to go back and explore it with a fisherman rather than organized tour. Check out my pictures below.