Visit Gunkanjima island, the Battleship island, in Nagasaki
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Visit Gunkanjima island, the Battleship island, in Nagasaki
/ Japan / Nagasaki Prefecture / Nagasaki / Tours & Activities /
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Visit Gunkanjima island, the Battleship island, in Nagasaki

3 h
About this activity
What is Gunkanjima?

“Gunkanjima” is known as the “Battleship island” located in Nagasaki prefecture. 

The shape of the island resembles a Japanese battleship. 

Here, you can observe the crumbling aftermath of heavy modernisation during industrialisation in Japan. 

Coal was once plentiful in this island, and many mining facilities were established during the Showa period, most notably Mitsubishi Corporation. 

Coal production sustained Japan’s economy for years, as corporations sent more and more workers and their families over to the island. 

Both the mining facilities and settlement in this small 15-acre island increasingly grew and became so densely packed as families were forced in very narrow settlements. 

There were 5,259 people living on the island in 1959, exceeding the population density of Tokyo by 9 times! 

The ruins of modernist architecture at that time is really fascinating to observe, such as the uniform and rational high-rise apartment blocks that were left to rot one after another, and the towering concrete sea wall that surrounded the island. 

These high-rise buildings and the surrounding sea wall resembled a Japanese battleship called “Tosa”, which is why the island has the nickname Battleship island. 

In addition to the residencies, many urban facilities were also built such as movie theaters, restaurants, hospitals, and entertainment venues. 

However, petroleum eventually replaced coal in supplying the country’s energy needs, and the coal industry abruptly came to halt in 1974. 

Many workers and inhabitants quickly abandoned the island, often leaving their possessions behind, thus you can see some material goods and artefacts that were left over in the buildings. One can really feel the mysterious atmosphere and sense the feeling of entrapment by looking at the crumbling ruins of the strangely identical architecture. 

You are able to look back through time at this mysterious island which once served to represent modernisation and growth in Japan but at the same time introduced new restrictive and disciplinary behaviour influenced by infrastructural forms. 

What is unique about this island is that it has been untouched for decades, leaving innate processes in nature to take over the concrete architecture, creating a juxtaposition of nature and artificial structures. 

This is indeed both beautiful and peculiar in many ways. In recent years, many films have been filmed on this island, such as Skyfall James Bond, as well as the popular anime series Attack on Titan. 

There has been an increasing number of visitors too now that the island restriction ban has been lifted. 

It is now also recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site as a “Meiji Industrial Revolution Site”.
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  • Addmission fee to Gunkanjima island
  • Cruise fare
  • Local assistance
  • Entry/Admission - Hashima Island
Not included
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Food and beverages
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • There is a possibility that you cannot land to the island due to the condition of the ocean. In that case, we will offer you a gift as an alternative.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 1 travelers
5 | 2018-05-02

This company ensured we were well looked after. We were the only English speaking tourists on this trip and we did not miss out. From the time we boarded with our radio guide the staff ensured we were in an area to be able to recieve the signal.This was great as a. wet windy day. We were escorted to a great seat. As we approached the island we were again taken to the back deck to get a better view. Our boat was well equipped, comfortable and modern. Well worth doing



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