Google · great big story · japan · travel · urban exploration

The Abandoned Island Gunkanjima

Gunkan Jima (軍艦島、ぐんかんじま)literally means battleship island, though the actual name is Hashima (端島、はしま). The nickname came from the shape of the island, which resembles a ship. Although the island is abandoned now and has been turned into a tourist attraction, it originally was an island built for extracting coal from underneath the sea. But when the coal mine ran dry, all the people on the island kind of lost their jobs and returned to Japan’s main islands for work.

This island has been abandoned for quiet sometime but became really famous because it appeared in James Bond, Skyfall movie as the bad guy’s hiding place. On top of that, Google Japan also did a street view of the island, making people who don’t live in the island proximity to be able to see and experience it’s beauty in decomposition.

I imagine this place would be a fun spot to do some urban exploration, but due to the fact that it’s an island, it’s a little harder to reach, especially since Japan is kind of strict on rule-breaking. They do though offer a tour of the island, though it is more of a walking and directed tour. So you can’t just roam on your own like how you wanted. Of course its for your own safety, but my inner child spirit begs me to run away from the pack and explore individually.

Seriously though the tour would still be fun I assume, but it’s kind of hard to get a ticket because they base their schedule around the weather, and they are not open all year long, so tickets are limited. Well, it’s really ways away from Tokyo in the first place, so unless you’re at that part of the country, it’s really out of the way. I’ve heard Nagasaki is a cool place to visit, but I can barely make rent, so that’s something that I really have to but on the back burner for a while.

But I’ve seen a lot of awesome pictures online. Like I mentioned above, this island has been abandoned for quiet sometime and they have been doing the tour for a number of years, so videos and pictures are not hard to get. But if you are as into exploring the less traveled path as I am, you probably know that looking at pictures don’t do the place justice and the more you look, the more antsy you feel.

Gunkanjima: My Love
Image found through Bing image search


Nevertheless, this decaying ship is a symbol of what mankind does. It utilizes the earth for its fossil fuel, and when it’s gone, they abandon it, leaving it against nature, time, and animals. I image the island is more breathtaking in person and I can’t wait to see it someday.  That, and a bjillion other places on earth.

Credit: First video found on Great Big Story

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