Hashima Island or known as Gunkanjima is a small island that is served as a coal mining place and also became the home of 5000 residents that resulted to be the highest population density in the history worldwide. The coal was first discovered on this island in 1810 by the feudal lord if Saga.
Gunkanjima means "battleship island" in Japanese. It is located just off the coast of Nagasaki. The island is covered in packed buildings and now abandoned. Today, it is considered as a ghost town for more than 40 years.
Before, natural disasters such as typoons have cause the buildings on the island to collapse and deteriorate. Because of the danger of collapsing structures, Gunkanjima was closed to the public. Cruises are the only way to go sightseeing around the island. But in 2009,a newly constructed boat dock made it possible to land onto the island.
There are a total of three observation decks available in the southern island. Note that those tours do not allowed visitors to get close to the buildings.
Boat rides takes for about 50 minutes that allows visitors to see the city of Nagasaki.
Take the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen and get off Hakata Station. From there, transfer to the JR Kamome express train and get off at Nagasaki. Then, there are tour boats that are operated by different companies and depart from various locations in Nagasaki Port.
There are many companies that operate boat tours to Gunkanjima that is usually cost around 3400-4500 yen per person.
Advance reservation is recommended especially in weekends and holidays.
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