Hashima Island: The Most Haunted Island in Nagasaki, Japan

Hashima Island

Hashima Island comprises a complex history. But one thing is abundantly clear when humans leave something untouched; buildings crumble, and nature finds a way to flourish.

This is what happened at a place that is nine miles from the city of Nagasaki. An abandoned island that sits free of inhabitants yet precipitous in history.

Hashima Island was once a Mecca for undersea coal mining. This island was a sharp depiction of Japan’s swift industrialization. This island is also known as Gunkanjima, which means battleship Island.

It was named so due to its resemblance to a Japanese battleship. Hashima was used as a coal facility provider from 1887 to 1974.

Hashima Island
Hashima Island

As the depletion of the coal reserves started and petroleum started to replace coal, the mines were closed, and the people had to leave. After all this, Hashima Island was abandoned and ignored for about three decades.

Yet, just as abandoned concrete walls started to crumble. Flora started to flourish in this place.

As a result, this dilapidated island got all the required attention from those interested in the undisturbed historic ruins.

Hashima Island’s Past

Throughout World War II, the history of this island was darker, just like Japanese wartime mobilization policies that were utilized by Korean civilians and Chinese prisoners who became forced labourers after the war.

Island pic
Island pic

These labourers were then made to work under extreme conditions. It is even said that an estimated 1,000 workers died on this island during mid of the 1930s.

It was then marked as the war’s end due to unsafe working conditions, exhaustion and malnutrition.

Since this place became a tourist spot, this island was called under United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) one of the World Heritage Historic Sites in 2015. Various groups of visitors could be taken on tours.

Regardless of the public’s infatuation, the legacy of this island remains a mystery.

It’s still unsure whether the focal point of the island should rotate around its part for remembering Japan’s industrial revolution or as a part of the memory of the forced labourers who had to suffer through excruciating circumstances.

Touring the Island

There were days when a fishing vessel was hired to drop people off at the island; these days are now long gone.

In order to reach Hashima, one must join the organized tours that run at various times of the day.

 Mystery Hashima Island
Mystery Hashima Island

The boat takes about 30 minutes to get to this island from Nagasaki. After stepping out of the boat it is like entering a dystopian world of sci-fi, usually seen in movies or video games.

You can see gigantic twisted girders, crumbled structures of bricks, and shrubbery claiming back the spaces in which an entire community once flourished.

These organized tours take visitors along a set path along the elevated walkways.

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The walkways pass near various surrounding best sites. People who like independent exploring will find this guided tour disappointing.

But, these guided tours are necessary for protecting tourists from collapsing buildings.

You must know that this place has various iconic images like unique X-shaped staircases. This island tour comprises several key features of the island.

The Forgotten Island of Japan
The Forgotten Island of Japan

Everything from the entrance led to one of the mine shafts and a few ruined concrete apartment buildings. You can find plenty of great photo opportunities throughout too.

The tour guides provide some exciting insights into the historic lifestyle and conditions on the island of its former residents.

Plan Your Visit

Talking about Nagasaki is the closest city to Hashima, which is also linked with some significant Japanese hubs by air, and rail from Fukuoka.

Various tour companies help to take groups to the island from Nagasaki. One of which is Gunkanjima Concierge, which organizes multilingual tour guides.

Gunkanjima Concierge
Gunkanjima Concierge

You will often come across guides speaking Japanese on the way out.

Make it a point to ensure that you have taken sunscreen and some snacks or beverages.

This tour also provides loaner sun hats, that are one good idea.

This is because there is no shade, and the sun can be harsh and harmful to the skin.

One essential thing you must note is that there are no bathrooms on this island.

Industrial Rise and Fall of Hashima Island

While in the early 1800s, coal was first located on the 16-acre island.

During an attempt to catch up with western colonial powers, Japan started a phase of rapid industrial development that got started in the mid of 1800s. Then it was utilized by Hashima Island for the trial.

Rise and Fall Hashima Island
Rise and Fall Hashima Island

After when Mitsubishi acquired the island in 1890, seawalls were developed consequently developed and started extracting coal as Japan’s first main undersea coal exploitation.

Then in 1916, a seven-floor apartment block, Japan’s first large reinforced concrete building, was constructed for the miners. This was done for protection against typhoon damage.

Even sturdy concrete was recycled to create various structures like a school, apartment complexes and a hospital. It was done solely to grow the community.

After some time, a renewed interest In Hashima Island was seen amongst people.

city of Nagasaki
city of Nagasaki

Why is Hashima Island abandoned?

When coal mining declined, operations at the facility ceased, and the island was abandoned.

As we all know, Mitsubishi maintained ownership of the island even when the population of this place dropped to zero. Later in 2002, this place was transferred to Takashima Town.

In 2005 this town was absorbed by the city of Nagasaki. A lot has already been enclosed with the history behind the seawalls of Hashima Island. It comprises a lot of things like complex, rich, and devastating.

There is one obvious thing; the Japanese enclave is undoubtedly a testament to how in an abandoned area, nature and industry find their way to interact.

I hope people looking for this island’s history and current situations can find their answers in this article.

 Japan’s Gunkanjima Battleship Island
Japan’s Gunkanjima Battleship Island

Do let me know how you feel about this article, and don’t forget to include any queries that you still have. Thanks for coming this far and reading!

Which is the most Haunted Island in Japan?

There are many haunted islands in Japan, but Hashima Island is a famously haunted spot in Japan. Hashima Island is a small island located about 15 kilometres from Nagasaki. The island was once home to a thriving coal mining community but was abandoned in 1974 when the mines were closed. Since then, it has been nicknamed “Ghost Island” due to its eerie, deserted appearance. It is said that the spirits of those who died working in the mines still haunt the island and that it is also home to you. Hashima Island is now a popular tourist spot, but it is not for the faint of heart.

So, if you’re looking for a truly haunted experience, then Hashima Island is the place for you. But be warned, these islands are not for the faint of heart.

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