Gunkanjima: 10 Stories, 200 Photos

Written by Jordy Meow. Published on January 1, 2014.

Gunkanjima is an abandoned island located in Nagasaki Prefecture. The island got famous because of his unbelievable appearance: surrounded by a sea wall, you will find an entire abandoned city with huge concrete buildings. The original name of the island is actually Hashima, but it is also called the Battleship Island (translation of Gunkanjima) or the Ghost Island. It appeared recently in the James Bond movie Skyfall and got even more famous.

This post is a summary of my 10 articles about Gunkanjima. You will find stories and photos of specific places and an interview with a former inhabitant. As a bonus, I also have photos taken during the night!

Image Map


It used to be a coal mining facility surrounded by a monstrous but very lively maze of huge buildings. In the 60’s, it was the most densely populated metropolis on earth, which is an amazing fact considering that it is just a tiny island!

ISLAND SIZE: 61,000 m2
MAX POP.: 5,259 people
DENSITY: 83,500 people / km2

Everything can be found in that abandoned city: schools, shops, an hospital, clubs, pools, a gymnasium… It is hard to believe that it is truly real until we see it with our own eyes. A post-apocalyptic overview of our future, yet a remain of the past! You will find more historical and background information in my first article: An One Hour Adventure.


Abandoned in 1974, the Battleship Island – Gunkanjima – turned into the Ghost Island and soon became one of the most famous spot for urban exploration. 

It was in 2010 that I last set foot on Gunkanjima. At that time, I had only 1 hour to race through the whole island to take some pictures! That was very fast… Luckily through new amazing Japanese friends I got really lucky and was able to go back there in 2012, 2013 and 2014 to enjoy the experience to its full extent! This was quite a blessing as the access to the island got really difficult during the recent years.

The stories and adventures on Gunkanjima will be covered in a series of 10 articles. I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed exploring the island


1. An 1 Hour Adventure

The very first episode, along with a lot of historical information.
Disclaimer : there are many old HDR photos…

Hashima Island - Gunkanjima

3. The Block 65

This building is massive; an icon of the ghost island.
Do you recognise the scene from James Bond?

Gunkanjima Block 65

5. The Memories of Doutoku Sakamoto

Exploration of Gunkanjima with a former inhabitant and his memories.

Gunkanjima Apartments

7. The Shrine [soon !]

Every place in Japan needs to have a shrine. Gunkanjima is of no exception.

Gunkanjima Shrine

9. The Night, The Full-Moon & Billions of Stars

Photos of Gunkanjima at night, underneath the full moon.
This is a special treat for Gunkanjima’s lovers!

Gunkanjima by night

2. A Maze of Streets & Hellish Staircases

It is hard to get lost on the island. But in the rubble, you might find yourself blocked easily.

Gunkanjima Stairway To Hell

4. The Haunted School

A gigantic middle school where many traces of its past can be found.

Gunkanjima School

6. Between Hell & Paradise

The big guys lived at the top, enjoying the larger rooms and a beautiful view.

Gunkanjima Masters

8. Debris of the Mine [soon !]

Unfortunately there is not much left.
Here is what remains.

Gunkanjima Coal Mine

10. The Battleship Hospital [soon !]

The hospital of battleship island has a strange atmosphere with all its old medical equipment lying on the floor.

Gunkanjima Hospital

Thank you for your patience while we prepare these articles! If you want to be notified when an article is published, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+

PS: All the pictures have been taken with the Nikon D800 (especially using the 14-24mm f/2.8 lens) except the ones in the very first article which were taken with the Canon 7D (using a 17-55mm f/2.8 lens).

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