Travel to Gunkanjima

A longtime dream came true and we landed on Gunkanjima!

Despite the strong winds and high waves caused by the typhoon and the fact that the boat was not going to leave on schedule, after a slight change in our itinerary, the boat was able to leave.

We had been told that even if the boat did leave, it was often impossible to land on the island, so we were very nervous on the boat, looking at Gunkanjima in the distance.

Luckily, we landed safely.

The official name of Gunkanjima is Hashima. It is located 18.5 km from Nagasaki Port.

It is called Gunkanjima because of its warship shape.

Coal was discovered in 1810, and 80 years later, Mitsubishi bought the island and the rights to mine for coal in the area, and full-scale mining began.

There were a hospital, a shrine, a temple, a movie theater, a beauty salon, park, a kindergarten, an elementary and a junior high school, a store selling daily necessities, and a market for the coal miners and their families.

At its peak, the island was home to 5,300 people!

Despite its prosperity, the island was closed in 1974 when energy was shifted from coal to oil, and all residents left the island on April 20 of that year, leaving Gunkanjima uninhabited.

In 2000, the island began to attract attention as a “Heritage of Industrial Modernization Site,” and in 2005, the press was allowed to land on the island, and tourists have been allowed to land there since 2009.

And in 2015, it was registered as a World Heritage Site, attracting the attention of foreign media.

The island is now just ruins and full of rubble.

I am afraid to imagine what life was like back then, but I realized that many people found enjoyment and worked hard for Japan, despite the stress.

I am grateful to have been able to stand on this island, which is a cornerstone of Japan’s economic development.