Gunkanjima (Battleship island) open to the public

Gunkanjima, a small and intriguing abandoned island used for coal-mining in Nagasaki Prefecture, is now open to tourists from April 22, 2009.

The large apartment buildings atop the island make it look like a battleship, giving its nickname. The island served as a coal-mining station from 1890 to 1974 when the island was abandoned upon the closure of the mine. Over 5,000 people once lived on the island whose perimeter measures only 1 km (or about 480 meters across and 160 meters wide). It was the most densely populated place in the world. The huge apartment buildings, movie theater, elementary school, and other facilities still lay in ruins today. Needless to say, it’s a great shooting op for photographers.

See this page for my full story about the island. I’m delighted that my suggestion to open the island to tourists has been realized.

The city of Nagasaki spent about 100 million yen to build a port and tourist facilities on the island. The tour is an hour long, costing 4300 yen for the boat ride and guided tour. Reservations required. Call Yamasa Kaiun at 095-822-5002. やまさ海運

Leave a Reply