Location: Hashima Island, Japan
Status: Abandoned Ghost Town
Hashima is a small island off the coast of Nagasaki. The Japanese call it Gunkajima, or Battleship Island, because of its resemblance to a battleship. The island was once home to a prosperous coal mine, and had an incredibly dense population for its small size.
Above: Stairway to Hell
Below: Crisscrossing Stairwells
The island was surrounded by large seawalls, and inhabited by great ten-story concrete buildings. These buildings were the first of their kind, the blueprint for future apartments throughout the world. The island contained schools, bathhouses, restaurants, and shrines. Most of the apartments could only be accessed through one staircase dubbed the “Stairway to hell”.
For years, the coal mines flourished, however, in the 1960’s mines all over Japan began closing, as petroleum was in higher demand. Because of this, the mine in Hashima closed in 1974, and all of its inhabitants left.
In 2009, a path was cleared for visitors, and tourists can now tour a small part of the island. However, many areas are unsafe, as the buildings are collapsing, and have not had any upkeep. Also, because of the island’s harsh weather, it cannot be toured year round.
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