Urbex Dream Location

Battleship Island Gunkanjima from Boat, Nagasaki, Japan.

Located 15km off the coast of Nagasaki, it looks like an urban explorer’s wildest dream. Its official name is Hashima Island, but it is commonly known as Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) because of its warship-like shape. Opened to tourism in 2009, the abandoned island is easily accessible by guided tours from Nagasaki port.

Collapse at Any Time

Well, if you stick to the rules for visitors, there is not much left to explore. Tourists are restricted to a concrete and fenced walkway several hundred meters long. A full reopening is unlikely, as it would require a substantial investment in restoration and safety. Battleship Island has not been maintained for several decades, leaving its structures vulnerable to collapse at any time. Some areas have already been reinforced with concrete to prevent further damage.

Gunkanjima, Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan.

The history of the island is linked to an underwater coal mine that was exploited from there in the pre-oil days. At its peak, Gunkanjima was home to more than 5,000 miners, making it the most densely populated place in the world. By the 1970s, the coal reserves were almost exhausted. The mine was closed, and the island emptied of its inhabitants.

Inside Gunkanjima’s Buildings

Google’s street view technology provides extensive coverage of the site. It offers a glimpse inside the buildings, revealing remnants of the island’s former inhabitants, like discarded soda bottles or yesterday’s CRT televisions. 

Battleship Island Gunkanjima, Nagasaki, Japan.