In Nagasaki prefecture there are many attractive exotic sightseeing spots such as “Glover House” and “Dutch Slope” and the “Goto Islands” where Christianity related facilities were registered as World Heritage sites in recent years. Especially, Hashima Island floating in the offshore of Nagasaki Port, which was registered as a World Heritage site in 2015, is familiar as “Gunkanjima Island” from the appearance like a warship, and many tourists visit from home and abroad.
In Gunkanjima Island, coal was discovered around 1810 and small-scale coal mining was carried out. The island at that time was only an aqueous rock with no plants and it was about one third as large as the current one. After that, operation began as a marine coal mine in 1890.
As the coal output increased, the population also increased, and it seems that more than 5,300 people lived on the island during the peak period. It is said that it was the world’s largest population density exceeding nine times of central Tokyo in those days. Half of the island was a mining site and the place of residence was so narrow that the land was reclaimed many times, the enlargement of the levee repeated, the area was expanded to about 63,000 square meters, it seems that it became the present shape.
The island was surrounded by a fence and the appearance of high-rise apartments in it was similar to the Japanese warship “Tosa” at that time, so it came to be called “Gunkanjima Island”.
As energy demand shifted from coal to oil, it was closed in 1974 and the 2,200 islanders who lived at that time also left the island and became uninhabited islands. It was registered as a World cultural heritage as one of “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution” in 2015, and it came into the spotlight again. It became famous as a shooting place for a movies, and many tourists are visiting.
The highlight of Gunkanjima Island is the 7 floor “Building No. 30 Apartment” built in 1916. It was the first high-rise residential building in a reinforced concrete in Japan, and it was built as a house for miners. In addition to the apartment, elementary and junior high schools, hospitals, shops, entertainment facilities were also available. Because the land was narrow, flowers and vegetables were raised utilizing the rooftop of the apartment, it is said that there was the first rooftop garden in Japan.
The shape resembled the warship
The small island, which used to be the entrance of under the sea coal mine, a quay surrounds the whole island, and the appearance of the high-rise building made of reinforced concrete stands in a row came to be called “Gunkanjima Island” because it resembled the warship “Tosa.”
Approximately 5300 persons lived in 1960 of the golden age, it was reached no less than 9 times as much population density as the Tokyo ward of those days. All things required for a life, such as elementary and junior high schools and a hospital, were in the island. There were even amusement facilities, such as a movie theater and a Pachinko parlor (a Japanese gambling machine).
The island became uninhabited in 1974
The coal of the Hashima coal mine was very good, and supported modernization of Japan with the adjoining Takashima coal mine, but the pit closed in 1974 when main energies shifted to oil from coal. And the island became uninhabited.
In 2009, the landing of the commoner was enabled, then many people participate in a tour and visit Gunkanjima now.
Registered formally as world’s cultural heritage as “Sites of the Meiji Industrial Revolution”
On landing tour, the remains of second pit which were the prime pits, the brick comprehensive office which was centers, etc. can be inspected. The oldest apartment made of reinforced concrete in Japan etc. that were built in 1916 can also be seen from an inspection passage.
In 2015, it was registered formally as world’s cultural heritage as “Sites of the Meiji Industrial Revolution”.
Dependent on fate whether you can land or not
The landing condition to the island that Nagasaki-shi establishes is with less than 0.5 meters of high wave, and the marine wind velocity is less than 5 meters, and view becomes higher than 500 meters.
The day which fulfills the above conditions is said to be about 100 days at every year. It is dependent on fate whether you can land or not.
It is recommended early reservation
A Gunkanjima landing cruise and round tour tour are very popular. In a tourist season, it is recommended that you make a reservation early.
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Name:||Gunkanjima (Hashima) Island|
|Address:||Takashimamachi Nagasaki, Nagasaki 851-1315 Japan|
|Access:||Many landing tours have been organized and offered to tourists by various Tour Providers.|
Please check official site.
|Tel:||(+81) 95-829-1152 (Nagasaki-shi Tourism Office)|
|Price:||Please check official site.|