Gunkanjima is an island located 15km off the coast of Nagasaki. Its official name is Hashima Island. For its distinctive shape, however, it is usually called by its nickname Gunkanjima – Japanese for battleship island.
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 coal was replaced by petroleum, mining became less profitable. The production was finally 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 with some digital enhancement.
Today, a couple of operators offer guided tours from Nagasaki port. With the island’s structures being prone to collapse anytime, only a small area is, however, deemed to be safe for visitors. That means you are bound to a few hundred meters of fenced walkways.