Hashima Mine


Useful Information

photography
Gunkanjima - Battleship Island, Japan. Public Domain.
Location: Hashima Island, off Nagasaki Peninsula. Tours start at Nagasaki Port.
Open: All year daily multiple tours.
Depending on weather.
[2010]
Fee: Short Tour: Per Person JPY 3,300.
Long Tour: Per Person JPY 4,300.
[2010]
Classification: MineCoal Mine
Light: n/a
Dimension:
Guided tours: Short Tour: D=2 h.
Long Tour: D=3 h.
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Yamasa Kaiun, Nagasaki Port, Tel: 095-822-5002.
Kyodo Co., Nomo Island
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

photography
Gunkanjima - Battleship Island, Japan. Public Domain.
1810 coal discovered by the feudal lord of Saga.
1887 island first inhabited.
1890 begin of mining by Mitsubishi.
1916 Japan's first large concrete building.
1974 Hashima mine closed.
APR-2009 opened to the public.
2015 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Geology


Description

photography
Gunkanjima - Battleship Island, Japan. Public Domain.
photography
Gunkanjima - Battleship Island, Japan. Public Domain.

端島 (Hashima) is an uninhabited island 15 kilometers from Nagasaki, west of Nagasaki peninsula. The english name is commonly Hashima Island, which is actually wrong, as the Japanese ending -shima translates island. By the locals it is commonly named 軍艦島 (Gunkanjima - Battleship Island), as a result of its characteristic form. The island is completely covered by now abandoned concrete buildings and surrounded by a sea wall. It is also known as Ghost Island, as it is now abandoned and uninhabited.

The island was originally uninhabited, until in 1887 the first people lived on the island. It was purchased in 1890 by Mitsubishi who started to mine coal in undersea mines. Growing numbers of miners made the construction of housing necessary. In 1916 a block of apartments was erected, which actually was the first large concrete building of Japan. The massive construction was necessary because of the typhoons in the area, which would have destroyed weaker buildings. So the whole island became an enormous beehive with a population density of 139,100 people/km².

The decline came with the growing replacement of coal with oil during the 1960s. In 1974 the mine was closed and the miners moved away. The island became deserted. The formerly twelve round trip services available per day were discontinued. The island was still private property and was closed for visitors.

The island was owned by Mitsubishi Material up until 2002, when they transferred it voluntarily to Takashima town. Takashima is now merged into the city of Nagasaki, so the island is now administered as part of Nagasaki. A non-profit organization The Way to World Heritage Gunkanjima tried to receive World Heritage status for the island. In 2006 the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry decided to support this, with the idea to utilize it as a tourism resource. This request was initially opposed by South Korean authorities on the grounds that Korean and Chinese forced laborers were used on the island. After several years South Korea and Japan agreed on a compromise: Japan would include the use of forced labour in the explanation of facilities in relevant sites. Hashima was finally inscribed together with numerous other sites of of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution in 2015.

The island is in a bad shape, several buildings have already collapsed, others are subject to breakage. The exterior walls of some buildings have been restored with concrete, and a small portion of the island was opened for tourism. A pier was restored and a trail across the island secured. It is not possible to visit the interior of the buildings. The route is only 220 m long, but if the visits will create enough income, the tour might be extended. But the harsh weather will permit landing on the island only 160 days per year, so it is not clear if the concept will work.

There are two tours now, the short tour is not landing on the island. The boats just approach the island and circle around it. The long tours land on Gunkanjima, they are very popular and pre booking is advisable. And unfortunately they are very depended on the weather, they are cancelled on bad weather.


Gunkanjima Gallery