The Real Story Behind Japan's Ghost Island
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International Travel


Hashima Island in Japan has a wide array of nicknames, including “Battleship Island” and “Ghost Island” due to the way this island is shaped. This island really does look like a game piece from the popular board game ‘battleship”. From the late 1800s to the late 1900s, the island was populated because of the access it granted to undersea coal mines.

However, as Japan gradually switched from coal to petroleum, the mines (and the buildings that sprung up around them to support their workers) closed down, leaving an isolated ghost town that reminds some of a ghostly concrete battleship.

The island has recently gained international attention for its modern regional heritage, and for the undisturbed housing complex remnants representative of the period from the Taishō period to the Shōwa period. It has become a frequent subject of discussion among enthusiasts for ruins.

Since the abandoned island has not been maintained, several buildings have collapsed mainly due to typhoon damage, and other buildings are in danger of collapse. However, some of the collapsed exterior walls have been restored with concrete. Though damaged, this building seems to stay intact no matter what, so it might be a sign that you should see it before it completely crumbles.

In 2013 Google sent an employee to the island with a Street View backpack to capture its condition in panoramic 360-degree views. The island has appeared in a number of recent feature films. External shots of the island were used in the 2012 James Bond film “Skyfall”.



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