Gunkanjima

Gunkanjima is an island located 15km off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan. Its name (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 role more and more. 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.

Battleship Island took a boost in popularity through the 2012 Skyfall James Bond movie. The villain’s secret headquarter was placed on an abandoned island 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 small area that covers only a fraction of the entire island. You are only free to roam on a few hundreds meters of fenced walkways. Some ruins are liable to collapse anytime, so safety concerns leave no other option.