A Thorough Introduction of Nagasaki's Gunkanjima - Access Only Available Via Guided Tour!
Gunkajima is located 19km off the coast of Nagasaki's west port. The official name for the island is actually "Hashima Island", however, due to it being similar to the former Japanese navy battleship "Tosa", it started to be called "Gunkajima". In the latter part of the Edo period, coal was discovered on the island, and from the 23rd year of the Meiji era and onwards, the coal mine prospered. Currently, the mine is closed, however, you're able to visit the historic remnants of the mine, which is very popular among tourists. Please note, access to the island is only granted to participants of the guided tour.
The Trip to Gunkajima
After departing from the port and while heading towards the island, there are many amazing sights to see! There are famous spots that have been chosen for awards such as the "World's Best 3 Night Views" like Mount Inasa, or the Glover Garden which gives a more exotic feel. There's also the Megami Bridge with its beautiful form, the shipbuilding town of Nagasaki which houses the large-scale Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery where you can check out some boats!
Debark and Check out the Island Up Close and Personal!
It's time for the boat trip to end and to finally check out the island. You'll explore with the guide who will tell you all about the island. Visit the coal storage yard, the worker's residences, and the mine shafts! You'll find brick buildings, offices, a swimming pool, and much more during your adventures! Take your time and make sure to check out everything the site has to offer.
Take a Cruise Around the Perimeter of Gunkanjima!
Once you've finished exploring the island, explore the exterior of the island. This allows you to see things that weren't visible from the inside of the island, including the large amount of worker's residences!
In the latter part of the Edo period, coal was discovered on the island, and from the 23rd year of the Meiji era and onwards, the coal mine, as well as Gunkajima, prospered. The island itself is extremely small with 160m in width and 480m in length, but in its prime, the island hosted over 5,200 people. At the time it was said to be one of the world's hidden populations!
In the 5th year of the Taishō era, Japan's first reinforced concrete construction housing complex was constructed. After that, highrise apartment complexes were built one after another. On the island, you could also find an elementary and secondary school as well as restaurants and even a theatre!
The island itself prospered as a coal mining town, but after the energy conversion policy, it closed down in the Showa era's 49th year.
In June of 2015, the site was officially registered at a World Cultural heritage named "Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining" bringing attention to the island.
It's Forbidden to Go to the Island Alone!
It's strictly prohibited to enter the island alone, you must go with one of the many tour companies available. There is also a chance that depending on the weather, you will be unable to visit the island, so please ensure to check the weather forecast beforehand. The contents of the tour may differ depending on the individual tour company, so please ensure to check beforehand, and ensure you understand that it takes approximately 45 minutes to get from the port to the island, and an hour whilst on the island. The timings of the tour are typically split between AM and PM. The fee ranges from 3000 - 4000 JPY.
- Spot name：Gunkajima（Hashima Island）
- Street Address： Takashimamachi, Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, Hashima Island, 851-1315
- Access：45 minutes from Nagasaki Port via the Guided Tour
- Ticket： Differs depending on the tour company
- Holidays： Differs depending on the tour company
- Times：Differs depending on the tour company