The deserted island that inspired a Bond villain
Hashima Island, also known as Gunkanjima (meaning "Battleship Island" for its silhouette that resembles a warship) is a 60,000-square-meter cluster of concrete ruins in the sea off Nagasaki, Japan.
It was the bustling home of thousands of coal mine workers in the 1950s and was shut down in 1974. The island has been abandoned since.
Until pop culture and, most recently, a 007 film re-discovered it.
The abandonment left the island in ruins -- empty concrete buildings and collapsed mining facilities create a spooky, disturbingly quiet atmosphere.
Not the best place to set up shop.
Unless you are the very creepy, very convincing (and rather affectionate) Bond villain Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem) in "Skyfall" who set up his very creepy and very convincing lair on the island.
Aside from its use as a location in the flick, the island had earlier made headlines when in 2008 a non-profit organization proposed it be designated a UNESCO World heritage site.
The South Korean government opposed the move, arguing the mining facilities employed forced Korean laborers during World War II. Despite the opposition, the proposal made it to UNESCO's tentative list.
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Hashima remained entirely closed off until 2009. Travelers are now permitted to visit.
Trouble is, there is not much to do other than admire the ruins and isolation, which in itself is quite the eerie attraction.
The dilapidated buildings and abandoned belongings of the former coal miners make this place feel like the most desolate island on Earth. We doubt too that there's decent Wi-Fi, despite Silva's sophisticated computer set up.
Boat trips (50 minutes long) run from the port of Nagasaki to the island. Pack a lunch and make sure you get a return ticket. MI5 won't be on standby to help you out.
Have you been to Hashima Island? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.