If it was not for its strict access regulations, Gunkanjima could have been the ultimate urbex dream location.
The abandoned island is in easy reach from Nagasaki port by guided tours. As a tourist you are, however, restricted to no more than a few hundred yards of fenced walkways, built when the island reopened for tourism in 2009.
No Full Reopening
A full reopening is rather unlikely as it would require a substantial investment in restoration and safety. Gunkanjima has not been maintained for several decades, so its structures are prone to collapse anytime. Some areas, in order to prevent further damage, had already been reinforced with concrete.
Gunkanjima literally means Battleship Island. It got its nickname for its warship-like shape, dating back to the days when it served as an undersea coal mine. In its heyday, the island was home to more than 5,000 miners, making it the world’s most densely populated place. In the 70s, its coal reserves came near depletion. The mine was closed and Hashima Island, as it is officially called, vacated by its residents.
Peep Into the Buildings
With its street view technology, Google provides extensive coverage of the place. It lets you peep into the buildings, bringing remains of the island’s former residents such as old-school tube TVs or discarded soda bottles to light.