Gunkanjima is located 15km off the coast of Nagasaki. Its name, Japanese for battleship island, refers to its characteristic shape.
The place has been a ghost island since the 70s. Before that, it was inhabited by thousands of miners, producing coal from its undersea mines. When petroleum became a commodity, coal mining lost its significance. Production was shut down and the settlement abandoned.
40 years later, the island was reopened for tourism. A pier was restored and some visitor walkways were paved. The first landings took place in 2009. Gunkanjima took a boost in popularity through the 2012 James Bond picture Skyfall. In the movie, the villain’s secret headquarter was placed in a location that looked a lot like Gunkanjima. It was, however, a studio set and some digital enhancement that did the trick.
Today, a couple of operators offer guided tours from Nagasaki port. When landing on Gunkanjima, you are bound to a few hundred meters of fenced walkways, though. With the island’s structures being prone to collapse anytime, only a small area is deemed safe for visitors.