Ghostly Attraction

A Japanese abandoned island made famous in the James Bond movie ‘Skyfall‘, is home to a ghostly industrial mining site which has a history darker than any movie.

Gunkanjima also known as Hashima Island or Battleship Island, was once a symbol of Japan’s rapid industrialization with a world-class undersea mining operation. The Island is located about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the city of Nagasaki, in southwest Japan and its modern ruin has become a new kind of tourist destination

In 1890, deposits of coal were discovered on the seabed near the island. In 1890, Mitsubishi Corporation purchased the previously uninhabited island and transformed it with modern buildings, apartment blocks, homes, hospital, schools, conveniences and electric lighting. By the 1950’s, it had a population of 5,000 people, attracted by solid wages and the unique mining culture. But when coal mining declined, operations at the facility ceased and by 1975, the entire island was abandoned.

In 2015, UNESCO listed it as a World Heritage site, over the opposition of South Korea. Guided tour takes visitors along a set route on elevated walkways, near a number of the best sites including the so-called ‘stairway to hell.’ The island also provided the aerial shots for the villain’s lair in the James Bond 2012 film, Skyfall and the setting for ‘Attack of the Titans’, the film version of a Japanese manga.

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