Gunkanjima: Ruins of a Forbidden Island

By Michael Gakuran | | Adventure, Haikyo / Ruins | 365 Comments |

Gunkanjima – every urban explorer’s dream. A deserted island of concrete ruins slowly crumbling away off the West coast of Japan. Travellers have long been forbidden to land there and view the secrets within its walls. But with an awesome guide and a little luck, I was able to do just that. Here’s my story.

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Night Infiltration?


Gunkanjima (軍艦島) – literally ‘Battleship Island’ – is the nickname for Hashima Island (端島), named so because it has an uncanny resemblance to a military warship. Once just a small reef, the discovery of coal in 1810 led to the installation of mining facilities and eventually gave rise to a population, all densely packed into a self-contained metropolis.

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But by 1974, the dream was gone. Petroleum came in place of coal, the mines were shut down and the now jobless workers were forced to leave. In a matter of days the island was deserted – everything left exactly as it was, to slumber eternally in the same position like a broken clock face.

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Since then visitors have been prohibited to land on this haikyo (ruined) island. Right up until April 2009, anyway. The landing ban on Hashima was lifted and the first tourist boats in years were to be allowed to land. My dream of secretly chartering a boat and infiltrating the place under cover of night was dashed.

They made it into a tourist attraction?? How could they!?

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But my disappointment was not to last. While it is true that it is no longer illegal to land on the island through the designated tours, it is still prohibited to for individuals to explore deep inside. All the interesting places like the well-known ‘Stairway to Hell’ or ‘Block 65′ may as well be invisible for all the view you’ll get from behind those shiny white safety bars. Yes, it was clear no tourist trip was going to satisfy my curiosity to walk the corridors of a 100-year old structure. Live site or not, I needed to get inside those concrete relics.

An impenetrable fortress


It seemed like an impossible feat, and certainly not one I could undertake by myself. Even if I could get to the island, navigating it safely and in a timely manner would be tremendously difficult. It was my good fortune then, to meet Ikumi. Concept Designer by day; Urban Explorer by night.

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It was that such meeting that led to me sitting in a dimly-lit car at 4.30am off the coast of Nagasaki. Munching on some adzuki bread in the passenger seat, I carefully eyed the figures of the local fisherman outside as they lit up their cigarettes.

“Those bastards. Look at them puffing away. The sun hasn’t even peaked out yet! If any more of them come, there isn’t going to be enough space on the boat…”

“Don’t worry, don’t worry”, Ikumi comforted me. “It’ll be fine. But what about those people over there..? Don’t they look like photographers to you? Haikyoists, perhaps?”

They did indeed. A couple of young Japanese guys, one wrapped up in the typical ‘couldn’t-care-less’ head towel and another with a camera draped around his shoulder.

“Might have company today…” Ikumi murmured.

It was something like Ikumi’s 6th time to visit Battleship Island. I felt as though I was in capable hands. She’d briefed me on the safety aspects beforehand and how our efforts may be in vain if the weather suddenly turned.

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Not long after, the fisherman began hustling aboard a boat. Ikumi ushered me to follow and we liaised with the captain. A quick nod and we were setting foot onto something seaworthy with our two photographer friends following behind. Now all we had to worry about was the landing. Apparently due to tumultuous tides and whimsical weather, being able to dock a boat on Gunkanjima can be as difficult as infiltrating the island itself.

Fortunately, today was to be my lucky day. One calm sea and one Battleship Island cast in a cold morning gloom stretched before us. Before we knew it, we had passed the sea wall surrounding the island and were breathing heavily inside.

I’m in! my brain whirred. Right, where’s my E-P1 and that ultra wide Panasonic 7-14mm lens..? And tripod. Check. Alrighty then…

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The regular tour boats would be circling the island in just a few short hours, so we’d need to make haste. So much to see! So much to shoot! I didn’t quite know where to point my camera at first, but the infamous Jigokudan (地獄段) staircase (above) lay before me. It is known as the Staircase to Hell because, apparently, running up the steps will exhaust you to the extent that you feel hellish pain. No time to attempt it today though…

Snap snap. Hmm… Maybe a different angle would bring out this shot better..? Snap.

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“Come on!” called Ikumi. “We’ve got to hurry.” I quickly followed her and noticed our two photographer friends disappearing off on an adventure of their own.

Tiny, yet huge


Gunkanjima only measures 1.2km in circumference. Less than half a kilometre lengthways, I was surprised at how much smaller it was than I had been expecting.

That’s not to say we got to take a good look at everything though. With stopping to take pictures and getting lost in the undergrowth enveloping the old buildings, the time quickly passed. Most of it was spent taking exterior shots. I figured that we may be blessed twice and get back the following morning too. That would be reserved for interior exploration.

As it so happened, we were blessed, but even with two landings we couldn’t begin to capture the full scale of the island. Block 65 (65棟), the huge, towering concrete monstrosity that housed a great many of the island’s worker’s back in its heyday lived up to its reputation (below).

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Ikumi had been chatting to me about how she’d like to do a sweep of the place and take a picture of every room, but after thoroughly investigating the top couple of floors, we realised it would take a good day or two to really see everything this island has to offer. We didn’t even get to see half of Block 65 on our second day, but managed to find a few of the mysterious relics left lying around.

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Most of the rooms were empty, save for rotting tatami mats and broken doors, so it took time for us to discover things of interest. When we did though, the feeling was so much more powerful. One such oddity we hunted high and low for was the old children’s toy Poron-chan (ぽろんちゃん) – one of those self-righting dolls. Not quite the cutie anymore though…

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Advancing onwards, Ikumi dipped under a ledge and took me inside another of the buildings. Clambering up a couple of flights of stone steps, we peered out into the narrow gap between the buildings with trees spewing out of the crevices. Nature slowly reclaiming the land. I hastily set up my tripod, snapped a few shots and dashed off again after Ikumi, shooting video footage as we moved. There was no other way with the limited time we had.

Around the far side of the island, a vivd blue morning sky stretched out over the old school building. Making good use of my wide angle lens, I just about managed to cram the whole thing and the next door hospital in. No time to look around inside much though.

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Hopping out from the school we poked our heads inside the hospital. This island really did have everything – except for a cemetery – but only the bones of rusted medical equipment and a decapitated manikin remained. Looks like this old girl has seen better days too, judging from this old magazine cover I tracked down online…

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The early morning sun on both days was stunning. With all the hidey-holes and interesting architecture Gunkanjima had to offer, we often stumbled across beautiful scenes of destruction. Here’s one such shot of Ikumi enjoying the fleeting golden rays.

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And yours truly striking the Gakuranman pose in a moment of excitement. Ikumi snapped a good amount of decent shots as we darted around, including the cracker at the top of this post and the eerie blue-tinted shot of some buildings. She claims her interest in photography is only secondary to her love of the explore, but I reckon she’s got some talent!

Temporarily trapped?


It felt like we’d only just arrived but time soon crept up on us. By the end of the second day, I was frantic trying to see every last thing I could. This may be the one and only chance I had to explore the legendary Battleship Island, so I didn’t want to miss anything.

“Mike, come on! The boat will be here soon!” came an irritated voice a couple of floors down. I was standing alone in the dim light of Block 65, trying to photograph an old Mitsubishi sewing machine.

“Okay, okay. I’m coming..!”

Snap…snap.

“Now!!”

Some of the dust fell off a nearby ledge and I could hear the rumble of our boat in the distance.

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As fate would have it, departing on the second day wasn’t so easy. Waiting for our ride with our backs to the inside of the sea wall, we heard a strange voice.

Fishermen, perhaps..? There were fisherman dotted around the edges of the island, after all…

But no, not fisherman. The voice gradually got louder and louder and it was then that we realised… The voice was from a loudspeaker on an approaching boat!

Damn! It’s still way too early for other boats…what the hell?? I thought. Ikumi gave me a quiet, but not altogether unperturbed look. What could it be?

Turns out it was a passing tourist boat with some guy on the loudspeaker chatting about the history of Gunkanjima.

“Nobody allowed on the island for many years…completely deserted and dangerous…” said the electronic voice. I couldn’t help but smile and continued to hold my breath as the ship sailed by.

Safely back on our boat, we relaxed a little as we headed back to land, Hashima slowly getting smaller and smaller. I must have taken a few dozen pictures as we sailed away, as if desperately trying to cling to the island’s disappearing form. Ikumi looked over some of the pictures we’d taken. She’s taken to wearing a gas mask in pictures at the haikyo she visits, so this time she asked me to bring the gakuran (a Japanese schoolboy jacket) to do a collaboration.

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A balaclava to complete the outfit and we were set – Ninja Gakuranman and Gas Mask Ikumi! I dare not think about just how high those crumbling ledges were that we sat upon…

Once back to shore, we thanked our captain and breathed a satisfied sigh of relief as we sank down into the seats inside our car. There was still a full day’s worth of haikyo explorations ahead, including a gruesome love hotel, picturesque shipyard and majestic torpedo training facility. But those are stories for another time. Gunkanjima was done and at least some of its secrets unearthed. But just how long will it be before it beckons us again..?

New! Check out the follow-up post where I returned to shoot a documentary. Brand new shots, including the elusive television set!

*****

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365 comments on “Gunkanjima: Ruins of a Forbidden Island
  1. Beniamino says:

    Hi Mike,
    it’s really appealing the Aikyo way of strolling around old places, and you and your friend have made a really good work.
    I’m quite new to Digital Photography, and I’m impressed by its opportunities.
    Thank you for what you post: it really makes me look forward to new chances to refresh an hobby I had many years ago!

  2. Manami says:

    Hey, im from japan and lived in colombia. I discovered your pictures one or two years ago and i think that there are amazing, so beautiful the most perfect photos.

    I was searching a tour or something like that to go to gunkanjima but i read that its difficult to walk anywhere you want. So how did you do that? Sorry for my imprudence!

  3. Oliver Vogler says:

    First of all, it was very exciting and interesting to read your post! You shot some amazing pictures on the island! I’m going to Nagasaki in a bit more than a week and just read about how touristic it all is these days. I’d like to see the real island instead of just the facade, so I was wondering if you could give me any contacts or tips on how to get to Gunkanjima inofficially and experience it in a similar way!

  4. Cedric says:

    I’ve been following your Haikyo blog for a good few months, reading your past stories whenever I get the time to. You capture the photos in such a unique light, bringing sad abandonment feelings yet you inspire those who view these photos to just imagine these places when they were once alive. An you do so in such a highly commendable way, showing respect to the place and the things you photograph.

    I just watched the Sunday Night Program (Australia) on Hashima Island. I only had to see the first 2 pictures and I instantly recognised it from your photos. Not only that 2 minutes later, you popped up as well! Really couldn’t stop my self from jumping in excitement! A wonderful segment with your contribution! Lots of respect for what you do!

    • Thanks Cedric! I have just watched the show on a low quality Youtube video. I was surprised as well! I had no idea what the final cut would be like, but it seems very neat. Shocking just how short the segment was though compared to the amount of footage we shot there on the island! It could easily have filled an hour special on Hashima and then some!

      • Cedric says:

        I cannot agree less! It was over much too fast, a lot more that could have been shown!

        Just curious are you involved with the team/organisation that are trying to get the island heritage listed? I would be quite interested in following its progress.

  5. ralphrepo says:

    Great photo expedition! Aside from the pictures of surface structures on Gunkanjima (Hashima) have you or anyone else you know of, ever tried to gain access and photograph the old mining shafts or structures beneath the island? Were they permanently sealed against intrusion or have other hardy adventure seekers gone back down there; I’m sure there’s also plenty of history below the island’s surface.

  6. Bexly River says:

    Wow. These photographs are amazing! truly awe inspiring! I was searching for inspiration for the setting of a novel I am writing, and I believe I have just found it!
    Thankyou so much for sharing these great photos!

  7. TL says:

    Hi, I came across your post when I was searching for ways to explore Gunkanjima, so far, it’s all gonna take some guts and risks. That, I do not mind one bit.
    Though, I am hesitant because this would be my first visit to the island and I don’t know anybody from there. Do you have any tips or ideas where I can start?

    Thank you for any input you can provide.

  8. Jerfareza says:

    Today I learned that 廃墟 (はいきょ)means the love to explore ruins / abandoned buildings. I realize I do have have love for abandoned buildings. Most of my friends think I’m a bit weird because of that, though haha.. They’d say ‘Dude, why do you keep taking pictures of that old building? Nothing interesting there!’.

    Man, I really envy your adventure in Gunkanjima..

    あ、初めて記事を読んだ!ごくろうさまです!

  9. gar goody says:

    Thank you…, well done…, have more adventures, please.

  10. Christoph Johns says:

    Incredible work!

    I really enjoy following your activities even though this is the first time I replied so far (sorry about that).

    Thank you so much and please keep on doing stuff like this!

  11. Annabel says:

    amazing photography, it takes guts to go to a ruined place like that, but its the excitement and the exploration that keeps one going.
    you mentioned that you shot a running video. would like to see it.

    Annabel

  12. Claryssa says:

    So incredible! Thank you for sharing! What an amazing place to be able to visit! How lucky are you :)

  13. Ahem says:

    Funny how you lament it being turned into a tourist trap, yet you yourself are a tourist. Just because you call what you do with a different name doesn’t change what you are.

    Beautiful shots and great story, though!

  14. Tony Humber says:

    Do you know why the buildings are so damaged? To see a small city falling down in such a short time seems unlikely.

    Tony H

    • Mainly the harsh sea environment, salt water and air. The place gets hit by typhoons most years.

    • darryl siemer says:

      The root cause for the rapid destruction of this island’s buildings is the fact that the rebar used to give the concrete they were made of is thermodynamically unstable. Concrete is porous meaning that both acid (actually CO2), water, & chloride ion “quickly” turn the initially strong steel rebar into useless rust. The cure for this problem is to switch to a ceramic fiber-based (e.g., “basalt”) rebar which doesn’t rust. This “issue” needs to be addressed world-wide because it’s responsible for much of the infrastructure decay (e.g., collapsing bridges) that we’re all experiencing.

  15. FXD says:

    Skyfall brought me here.

    Thought the placed looked amazing on screen, and I actually thought they had built a massive set because what place on earth would exist like this?

    Turns out it’s all real, and these pictures are great.

    • FXD says:

      Aaaand I just saw your follow up post, mentioning Skyfall. D’oh.

    • Paul Weston says:

      Skyfall scenes were all a set based on the island buildings. It was all recreated at Pinewood. They often creat these huge scenes like St Petersburg in Goldeneye for example.

  16. aaaaaahhh what I would give to spend a day on that island! I would just explore every inch of it. Those stairs are calling me so loud, it’s deafening. I am jealous beyond reason (pouty face).

  17. Cpaul19436 says:

    That was great I want more!!!!!!

  18. Eugene says:

    arigato- gozaiimasu! thank you for sharing this awesome experience. strangely inspiring really. 

  19. Mijonju says:

    I came back and I re-read your blog post, I got to say it’s the best one out there :)

  20. Rbditzelloveday says:

    Hello! I was fairly interested in your Kyushu Love Hotel post and I was wondering where i can find the post?

  21. thisburningage says:

    Amazing photos and a really compelling journal of the trip. There’s something about the “grand desolation” of abandoned towns and cities (Pripyat, mentioned in the comments above, immediately springs to mind) that really strikes a chord and as I’ve always wanted to visit Japan before I shuffle off this mortal coil and join the choir invisible your site is something of the perfect storm, making for a fascinating read. I’d actually give anything to do and see the places you’ve been and it probably goes without saying that the photography is suberb to boot. Awesome work! Leigh.

  22. Giorgie A. says:

    Daily Mail Online brought me here! And I have enjoyed reading your writing so far! Pretty exciting to be you – and I hope you bring me (as a reader) along with you next time!

  23. Amazing photographs and outrageous that the scruples-free Daily Mail continues to steal photographers’ work!

  24. J-fang says:

    Sounds like an awesome adventure. It’d definitely be a place I would want to check out.

  25. Jean-francois Loisel says:

    Thanks for this. Simply unbelivable and beautiful!

  26. Viktor says:

    Something similar from Brazil – http://sensitiv.us/post/18533793833/gavea-turist-hotel

  27. CrackWilding says:

    Brilliant stuff. I’m sure you’ve heard this from a few people, but this stuff reminds me very much of Pripyat. Perhaps a shadow of the world after we’re all gone.

  28. Jfn007 says:

    May I have your permission to print and display some of your photos to members of my black and white class here in Covina, CA?
    I am a retired teacher who is taking classes to improve my photographic skills. I am planning a visit to Bodie, CA, a somewhat famous ghost town and will be happy to share any photos I take of Bodie. Love the site.

  29. Jfn007 says:

    You did a wonderful job with your photographic skills. I hope you have enough photos of Battleship Island to publish a photo-book.

  30. bibi says:

    I was researching Hashima Island, and came to your blog. I really love the photos you’ve taken! 

  31. Gabriel says:

    This was a cool adventure. You’re a great photographer. I have to say that Block 65 resembles the apartment complexes from the movie Kung Fu Hustle. I read that this place is suppose to be haunted. You definitely get that feeling. But, I would have really like to see some images from “Stairway to Hell”. Either way. You made a great story.

  32. Togs30 says:

    Incredible, what a fantastic article, and the pictures are something else, i want to go……………………..now

  33. Incredible blog post! Where did you sleep on the island (I noticed you stayed two days)?

  34. wolfman says:

    Great artical and great pics. I just came back from Nagasaki and took the official tour of Gunkanjima. Was interesting and informative, but as an active urban explorer it only whetted my appetite for more. I visited a few haikyo while I was there including Kawatana training facility. Very haunting place considering ts history. I also cam across a haikyo of an abandonded ship repair/oil storage facility on Okinoshima. The island has only just been linked to the mainland by bridge so I unno if this haikyo has been ‘discovered’ by anyone else.

    I will efinately be going back. Loved Nagasaki. Would be interested in knowing more about contacting fishermen to get on the island   away from the official tour. I speak Japanese, so can negotiate.

    I used to live in Tokyo which I go back to every year. I am in Sydney now and a member of the main OZ urbex group. If you are around Tokyo it would be intersted in hooking up to do some exploring there, or if you come to Sydney. Email me if you wanna know more about my credentials.

    Cheers

  35. Jorge Diaz says:

    This is awesome, first time in your blog.

  36. Is it possible to get a higher resolution version of the photograph with the chair in it? Would make an excellent desktop background.

    • Gakuranman says:

      Hey, unfortunately I don’t send out high resolution pictures because of the risks involved in them leaking, but I might be able to help if you don’t mind the watermark in the corner. What resolution?

  37. Anonymous says:

    Have you ever thought about filming these? Bet they’d be great too!

  38. Simple_and_boring says:

    These photos are beautiful! I’m oddly jealous, yet mesmorized. I hope someday I’ll be able to visit these incredible remains, and attempt to capture the hidden beauty you were able to unravel for yourself.

  39. Mynameisash_lee says:

    I am so jealous.  Those are the only words I can coherently form, due to said jealousy.  

  40. EASILY THE MOST IMPRESSIVE THING NEXT TO GOD I’VE SEEN IN MONTHS, WOW LIVING THE DREAM.

  41.  This is absolutely awesome. I’m speechless after looking all the photos. This place is beautiful in its own way…

    Your photography? They are masterpieces, those photos seem like telling a story to me!!! Awesome job ^^

  42. Anton Hersche says:

    This is so unreal…..in a developed country like Japan……I guess the spirits keep the people away….. great pictures and good story, thanks.

    Anton

  43. Mariorossi says:

    the end of capitalism… we’ve to fight to not do the same end!

  44. Ethan Sloan says:

    WOW, I envy you like nothing else.

    I cannot fully describe my amazement and appreciation for what you did and the marvelous work that both of you were able to do.

    Best of luck and warmest regards.

  45. wow! what a discovery after been shaken trough. lovely!

  46. Bazi says:

    This is beautiful! Just one more reason I want to go visit Japan! Like I need more reasons!!

  47. Jan says:

    This brought great memories of the place. I also snuck onto the island a few years ago. It’s a marvelous place. I invite you to my site and to get to know my work while there. I am trying to find more photographers and potentially create a new exhibition/publication.
    best,
    Jan
    http://www.smithjan.com/hashima.html

  48. Nozomin says:

    うわー、これは軍艦島ですね!
    ステキな写真を見ることができて、感激です。
    ありがとう。

  49. Eljonse75 says:

    Wow, esto es lo mejor que he visto. Que envidia (pero de la buena) uno de mis grandes sueños es visitar lugares como estos. Muchas gracias por haberlo hecho por mi. Muy buen trabajo, fotografias todo esta perfecto

  50. rob says:

    hey, i want to do it, do you have any contacts in nagasaki, ill be there in april, i want to do it so bad
    rob

  51. Djtripp20 says:

    Hi, this is really great. What an interesting and surreal place… Thanks for sharing this!

  52. Dave says:

    I just wanted to say that this is one of my favourite websites right now – I come back time and time again just to stare at the photos, which are absolutely beautiful. I’m extremely jealous and if I ever make it over to Japan again I’m going to make some serious motions to get here, by hook or by crook. Until then I’ll stick with your photographs. Thanks very much for sharing.

  53. I’m so incredibly jealous. We visited there a couple of months ago, but weren’t able to find a way to get a private tour to the island. We had to settle for a group tour confined to the concrete pathway, which was more of a tease, as we could see where we really wanted to be… And, to make it worse, we were being rushed, so much so that I had to settle for blindly snapped, hand held photos.

    Your photos makes me want to go back (which isn’t likely to happen). Great captures, all of them.

  54. Angela says:

    From the pictures it looks like a ghost town, great shots really, very evocative. And fascinating post!

  55. Filipp Keks says:

    Great photos and story!

    Im a big ruins stalking fan and I will be in Nagasaki this december. As I live too far from japan Im afraid I will have only one chance to visit the iceland.
    Could you suggest is there a point to go to the official tour at all or it will just stimulate my appetite?
    Or maybe any suggestions in how to find some local guide and a boat to go there for real? :)

    Filipp
    Estonia (Easy to go to Pripyat though :P :))

    • Gakuranman says:

      Hey there. I’m not sure if the official tour runs in December because of the weather, but you should check the official website and made ask some Japanese friends to help you book :).

  56. Bianca Nock says:

    Hi!
    Wow, I discovered ‘Gunkanjima’ today after coming across it randomly! I am so fascinated by abandoned islands/buildings/ruins and your article and photos were such a pleasure to read, now these are phoos I was looking for of the island! You have done an excellent job!
    Thank you!!!!

    Bianca
    South Africa

  57. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for the comments and info man :). Yea, I saw the link from Cracked.com – huge traffic coming in!

  58. Edsel12 says:

    Love the photos man. I just got back from two mornings on the island and it was magical. I wish we could have stayed over night but we had to go early in the morning each day. I could have spent a week on the island and not shot everything I wanted.

    You will be happy to know the mannequin body is still in the hospital and looks the same as in your photo. If you would like to see my photos Ill be happy to post a link to um if you want.

    • Gakuranman says:

      Hey Edsel, thanks for the comment. I’d love to see your pictures and hear more about your trip. Please feel free to post your link :).

      • Gitanjali Chandrasekharan says:

         hi this is Gitanjali from Mumbai, India. We would like to use your photos and information about this city for our paper. Could you please let me know if that’s okay by you? You could send me a tweet on @cgitanjali . This will be much appreciated thanks

  59. Nelly Asher says:

    Great article! I thought a couple of this island’s pictures once, and was craving for more, so I was glad when I stumbled upon the link to this page on Cracked. You’ve managed to show the scale and the mood of deterioration, and the description of the whole adventure was also quite vivid – I felt it like I was there.

  60. Tetra 18 says:

    Very powerful and haunting photos.
    They equal the black and white photos taken by Saiga Yuji. He has been obsessed by the island since 1974. On his website, you can see photos of the last people living there.

  61. Tomasz says:

    Awesome ghost city

  62. Lengeu says:

    I am very impress. You inspire me to take up photography as a hobby. Thank you.

  63. Amazing! I seriously need to do this one day, I love urban exloration and this is a dream come true, if you guys ever go back, let me know :D

  64. Gakuranman says:

    Cheers Yaz :) Nice Urbex site yourself!

  65. Yaz says:

    Very cool, nicely written and beautiful photos.

  66. Anonymous says:

    fantastic images, writing, and adventure. got me thinking, and most importantly inspired, thanks.

  67. William says:

    Hey, these photos are awesome. I found out about this place a while ago and just remembered it a couple weeks ago when I watched Inception. There is a scene on the coast with huge dilapidated building falling into the sea and it reminded me of it. Any chance you could put me in contact with Ikumi? I live in Shanghai and have just gotten a serious itch to catch the next plane to Nagasaki with my 5DII and whatever UWA I can pick up in the Narita airport. However, I have a feeling my lack of the Japanese language would not help much in this task of stepping foot on anything other than one of those lame tour boats. Hopefully you still read the comments here. I’ll check back in a few days. Thanks, William

  68. Gakuranman says:

    Hey William,

    Thanks for the comments. Sure, send me an email with what you want to ask and I’ll see what I can do. :)

  69. lucie says:

    Makes me think of Inception… it’s awesome

  70. Saibancho says:

    Cool

  71. Hiroki says:

    On the way to the island, in the boat, there was an a short announcement about the history of the island.
    It was an enough good experience, even though it was not an adventure.

  72. Gakuranman says:

    I will hopefully post a deeper look at the history sometime in the future :).

  73. Gakuranman says:

    It was quite an adventure! How was your experience by tourist boat? Did you learn anything special about the history of the place and such?

  74. Hiroki says:

    I've been there as a regular tourist by regular sightseeing boat.
    So envious for your experience.

  75. June says:

    they are amazing! I like these pictures very much,they brought complete new feeling to me.

  76. zanabee says:

    How fascinating – good covert operation there ;). Next installment pls!

  77. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for the comment Frank, and well done on your own writeup :). I'm sad to hear that Gunkanjima may soon be granted hertigae status, but part of me is happy too. I would hate to see the place changed and made safe for tourists anymore than it already has been, but at the same time I wouldn't like to see it collapse and be lost to decay completely. A real dilemma…

  78. Frank says:

    Been there a few weeks ago and took some photos for my blog (http://outofcam.blogspot.com/2010/07/visiting-g…). Unfortunately, Gunkanjima has become just another tourist attraction now. Still, it's a place worth visiting – even if it's only for getting to know the “official history” of the island. Planning, however, to go there again on my own next year and see how things have changed. Looks like the island actually will be granted heritage status – which means that, given enough funds, it'll be converted to a “theme park” or something similar in the near future.

  79. Gakuranman says:

    Don't mind me :P. Fascinating to hear about these secret tunnels and unexplored haikyo. I'd like to hear more so send me an email or something. :)

  80. Sanvé says:

    The tunnels definitely exist is about all people know. Nobody seems to know of a still existing entrance though. I mean, there were rumours of there being one in the northern Negishi grandstand – shame the remaining ruin (as seen in the ol Nippon no Haikyo book) is the _southern_ one. Theres a handful of legendary but unexplored urbex sites in Japan actually, it'd be amazing to be the first to open any of them up after so long. These comment fields are getting thinner and thinner which I think may be a subtle hint that we're hijacking poor gakuranman's thread here so feel free to contact me offlist.

  81. Gakuranman says:

    Hey XM! Thanks for your comment. You were born on Gunkanjima? Can you tell us anymore about your experience living there?

  82. XM says:

    My home town! I was born there… Was 4 years old when we (forcefully) left. Dreaming of going back there one day again.

  83. kytto says:

    Sanve, I checked my pictures. The tunnel is blocked up with brieze blocks. I wonder if there is another entrance.

  84. Chris says:

    I think there's a gate across the entrance. I will will check my photos when I get home this evening.

  85. Sanvé says:

    Hmm… kytto, that may well warrant some investigation. Any gates or barricades?

    My tunnel dives have mostly been in the southern end of the prefecture, but were all well scoured clean by previous visitors (including stone recesses that appeared designed for tiny shrines).

  86. kytto says:

    Interesting you should mention tunnels in Yokohama. There's a tunnel entrance at the bottom of 港の見える丘公園. I don't know what the tunnel is for. There is no sign describing what it is. Some of the abandonned buildings I mentioned are also nearby 港の見える丘公園. They are mainly large suburban style residential houses.

  87. Gakuranman says:

    Wartime tunnels are a fascinating breed of haikyo in themselves. I'm pretty sure there are a lot of secrets like that in the U.K, too. As for abandoned houses in Japan, you're absolutely right. It's so difficult to tell what is and isn't a haikyo house, which means explorers have to be extra vigilant they don't disturb a real owner!

  88. Gakuranman says:

    Haha. You could bring your huge collection of cameras to document every crevice of it!

  89. Sanvé says:

    Prob with uninhabited houses is that its basically impossible to tell whats inhabited and run down and whats truly abandoned. Something insane like one in four houses in Japan are abandoned (I think source was the Mainichi?)

  90. mijonju says:

    when are you going again? lets go together!

  91. Gakuranman says:

    I'd love to get out to Yokohama. It's on my list when I can get some time off! Thanks for the comment!

  92. Rik says:

    These pictures are very inspiring. Thank you for sharing them.

  93. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Paul! We certainly did try hard, and I had Ikumi's expert help in navigating the island and the ruins quickly. I'm not quite sure what we were thinking sitting on that ledge all the way up, and that wasn't even the worst of it! What I didn't mention in the article was that I had to set up my camera on a tripod in the room across from where we were siting. The apartment block had 3 sides, so two interior 90 degree angles. I had to set up my timer and cross back over the inside of the two sides of the building, meaning I could have easily fallen. Looking back, it was perfectly crazy of me to do so. Next time I'll be bringing a remote for the camera's timer and walk through the safety of the inside of the building.

    It is sad that construction work has taken some of the island's charm away, but I didn't realise notice it much. What is more worrying for me are the stories of the engineers moving certain objects so that visitors can see them from the viewing platform. A certain famous television was apparently moved to a new room so that visitors could see it with a pair of binoculars.

    Getting official media permission is possible, so I've heard, but again, it's heavily restricted in where you can go and how long you can stay.

  94. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks 'random guy'. Don't be shy in the future :).

  95. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks. Very pleased you liked my writing too :).

  96. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Panamarach!

  97. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks :). Keep an eye out for more curious places on my site in the future!

  98. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for the comment Bob. I've tried to design my site to be as user-friendly as possible. Sorry that it was frustrating for you. This is a full-width post, so unfortunately the text is stretched to larger than the optimal blog width, but then the upside is that the pictures have maximum impact. For this post, I wanted to emphasise that, so I chose full width. If you take a look at some of my other posts, you'll see that they are all easily readable and fit on the average user's 1280px or 1024px screen. As for vertical screen size, unfortunately as a designer there is very little I can do. Again, having the pictures at 800px length was a compromise. The trend is for people to use bigger screens these days though, so hopefully these problems will disappear over time :).

  99. Vwmichelle says:

    Enjoyed these awesome pics. Definitely gets my curiousity to know why it has been a forbidden place for all these years.

  100. Bobb78 says:

    Looks like a fun adventure and good shots. I just think that the layout of your site could be more user friendly. The width of the text is too wide, makes it hard to read. Also, the photos are all too long for my laptop monitor so I can't see the entire shot, it's annoying to scroll up and down to see the top and bottom of a picture.

  101. Panamarach says:

    Awesome!

  102. What a cool set and super interesting story. Feels like I stepped into a spy novel.

  103. random guy says:

    this is very very cool. nice story/commentary too

  104. Paul says:

    Wow! I'm amazingly jealous.

    To be honest, one thing thats really amazing me here is that you two managed to get a bunch of unique and awesome photos under the pressure of such a timeframe. Presuming this post wasnt significantly delayed, I'm also amazed you found a day with landing weather in the middle of the wet season.

    I went to Nagasaki myself only a couple of weeks ago in hope of finding people still infiltrating the “back” way. Time and tight weather constraints saw me reluctantly opt for tour instead. Its actually kinda worrysome how the tour path they've set up is basically a bulldozed strip through the island, and the intention to extend it around the residential side… the only way they could do this would be by “restoring” many of the buildings you've photographed or even demolishing some which would be a crying shame.

    Not that the engineers are actually seemingly doing any work on that end (thankfully, the island shall live to see another few years in its present wonder): when I was there they seemed extremely busy using the city-bestowed access all areas cards to show their mates around the island whilst simultaneously taunting the tourists stuck below with their non-fence-jumping contract lanyards (no, seriously).

    For a lengthy daytime shoot, there probably would be a way to get a media access card from the city council if you had any foreign media ties simply because they are trying to get it UNESCO listed, and an “official” “preview” in international media of whats to come would definitely help get it on the approval fasttrack.

  105. Gakuranman says:

    Yea, I think I've heard of it. There are a couple of places around there, but the names escape me. Lee from Tokyo Times has probably been there and has some good photos :). There used to be a brain in a jar in the hospital section but I heard somebody stole it in recent months…

  106. Yeah, it has been a while; I've kept in touch with very few people aside from Sorrel from the old Japanese course since I changed degree programmes. Still, Japan seems to be treating you well. I'm hoping to get back out there myself later in the year, but it's all dependent upon arranging employment and visas, so who knows what'll come of it.

    I was wondering – back during the year abroad, I visited an abandoned village myself (sadly without a camera at the time, though someone else took a fair amount of video that must be knocking around somewhere) but I've never been able to find out much about it. I believe it was in Saitama prefecture, within not too great a driving distance of Tokyo, and was some kind of mine. I think actually the industrial parts of it were still active (or at least occupied by workers) to some degree, but the surrounding houses looked to have been abandoned for about a decade at least – quite a strange situation. Given your interests, perhaps you've heard of it? For a moment when I saw your other post on the White Stone Mine I thought it might be the same location (cracking photos, by the way) but on further inspection I don't believe it is, though it's hard for me to be sure if I only saw a limited portion of it.

  107. Moju says:

    If you have the opportunity to check the 30 minute 'installation version' featured on the dvd, go ahead, I think it's more powerful than any documentary.

  108. Gakuranman says:

    Hey Joe, long time no speak. I heard you'd done a bit of urbexing yourself from Steve. Thanks for the comments on my shots too :). Going so close to the edge of those ledges was pretty foolhardy, I admit, but for Gunkanjima, well, I made an exception ^^;.

  109. Gakuranman says:

    Interesting video! I've seen the documentary you're talking about too. It's pretty cool :)

  110. That's quite the urbex trip, with some amazing photography to boot. It's been a few years since I've explored anything abandoned, and Gunkanjima has always been a bit of an unreachable dream location, so congratulations on making it out there and getting the shots you did (particularly those ones on the ledges – even if I ever did get there, I doubt my vertigo would let me get anywhere near that close!)

  111. Gakuranman says:

    Cheers Joel. Thanks for stopping by!

  112. Moju says:

    Last part of my “experimental” video
    http://www.moju-video.com/untitled3project.html
    was shot in Gunkanjima, from the sea, as I was not as fortunate as you and didn’t meet Ikumi.
    Your pictures are amongst the best of Gunkanjima I’ve seen so far, and I’ve seen thousands !
    Another great movie about Gunkanjima from CM von Hausswolff & Thomas Nordanstad released on DVD by Errant Bodies Records.

  113. Joel says:

    Mind blowingly awesome. Great work

  114. Gakuranman says:

    Now that would be awesome! We'd need to keep it real secret though. Ideally hide the teleporter in a closet or something. I remember seeing a human-sized one in the old hospital there…

  115. 回天ソシ says:

    Man, I was planning to head to Gunkanjima this summer but lack of funds have pushed it to next year. Your writing and photos make me feel this unbearable need to head there RIGHT NOW. If only there was some abandoned teleporter on the island…

  116. Etl Dmw says:

    wow… photos are amazing!!! damn!!

  117. Lyekah says:

    U have got a great shot in you.

    Keep going!

  118. Gakuranman says:

    It's near the top of the list, for sure!

  119. Gakuranman says:

    Hey Laura. From one adventurer to another – cheers for the kind words! Where abouts was the ghost town you went to? Any pictures to share with us?

  120. Gakuranman says:

    Yup! Sometime in the near future :D

  121. Florian says:

    Well, I have very fond memories of my trip to Gunkanjima – it's a different approach and a good start. Will go back for the “fisherman tour” though one day. Until then I'll have to find solace in the other places I went to and will go to in the near future. And we'll definitely have to meet up to explore – Nagoya and Osaka are basically next to each other…

  122. Wow! I'm haunted and excited by your story and images. I can't even imagine what it was like to be there. I feel like I'm part of some great secret having read this though!

    What an adventure! It doesn't compare to this at all but part of my summer list this year was to visit a ghost town. We ended up at Shasta, Ca. I imagine the feeling I had there multiplied by a kajillion to be what you experienced. Thanks so much for sharing and for being such an adventurer!

  123. Gakuranman says:

    Haha. Nice to see a Totoro fan around here! Dust sprites eh? We did explore an old tunnel at one point, but they might have scattered away with the torchlight… :p

  124. Beautiful photography — I linked from my blog. The blue boots in the middle of that room make me think of となりのトトロ, and I wonder if there are dust spirits in the walls…

  125. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for the comment!

  126. Spag says:

    Wow I'm impressed! I heard that the interdiction was banned before my last trip to Japan last September and hoped I could find a way to the island. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to really try. Beautiful pictures you both made there, I'm really jealous! ;)

    Congratulations, you're in my bookmarks now! :)

    Cheers

  127. Gakuranman says:

    Cheers Mike (so many Mikes!) Yup, all pictures taken with my trusty little E-P1. :) I have wonder what is gonna top this though… Will be tough to find thrilling locations now, at least here in Japan!

  128. Very impressive Mike! Your shots are also excellent, were these taken with the Olympus EP-1?
    So yeah, wow! You did it! The Mecca of all haikyo in Japan! Very jealous, but again, impressed! Wish I had time to go here before I leave, but alas…

  129. Gakuranman says:

    Mijonju! With all your cameras I think you'd capture some incredible shots!

  130. Ron Adams says:

    Most romantic date ever! Congrats to you both!

  131. mijonju says:

    i wanna go!!!! I WANNA GO!!! RAWR!! I WANNA GOO!!!!!!

  132. Gakuranman says:

    Hey Jason. Thanks for dropping by. I'm especially pleased you like the photos after all the advice you've given me in the past :). It really means something.

    I met Ikumi rather by chance on Twitter, I think. Probably through a #haikyo hashtag or something. We got chatting about ruins and after some time made plans to visit a few together. Gunkanjima wasn't to be our first trip, but due to scheduling clashes, it ended up being so. Ikumi is still getting her site ready as far as I know. Will be sure to post able it when she goes public.

    Yup, the tripod was out for all shots this time. Even filming I was doing so while holding the tripod to save time. We were rushed, but my images were selective. I didn't blindly run around shooting and manually bracketed each shot I composed to be safe. Still got some unfortunate colour banding, but nothing I couldn't correct with a little time in Photoshop. Cheers for the comments on my writing too. I was pretty overwhelmed just how to go about reliving the experience without cramming in too much detail or historical background. I'll probably go into more detail in a second post in the future to cover that :).

  133. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks CheddarGav. It was a lot of effort on many fronts, but everything seems to have paid off!

  134. Jason Collin says:

    Wow, I am impressed Gak, with everything. With the will and skill to get yourself onto the island. With making a fast friend in Kumi and her coolness to take you onto the island, how did you manage that? You did a great job with the photography too, I don't really have anything bad to say about them! Using your tripod produced some tack sharp images and I like the composition. And considering you were rushing to get as much in as possible, that is not easy to do.

    Your writing was good too, I was caught up in the story, you did a good job of making us feel the process and what it was like step-by-step. The bits of dialogue were good too.

    This is one of the best (if not the) haikyo post by a foreigner living in Japan due to the major coup of getting onto a previously thought unreachable place, plus the quality of the photos and natural, unforced excitement of the story. Well done!

    Any links to Ikumi's photos?

  135. MJG says:

    Impressive- looks like your net-working is starting to pay off. Well done Mike.

  136. Gakuranman says:

    Haha, cheers :P. Yup, it was pretty exciting 6 floors up!

  137. soulstaker says:

    Totally in love with te

  138. Gakuranman says:

    I did indeed. Maybe I'll post another omake set of pictures sometime soon :)

  139. William says:

    I'm jealous. I went round Gunkanjima and that in itself was pretty exciting. Some of us (who fear the police!) like it being a tourist attraction. :)

    I was under the impression there was a shrine there too. Seemed to be some kind of watchtower too. Did you see them?

  140. Gakuranman says:

    Adventures are the food of the soul. Yarrg!

  141. Gakuranman says:

    Adventures are the food of the soul. Yarrg!

  142. Tsiya says:

    Great adventure!

  143. Gakuranman says:

    Will certainly do :). She's in the process of populating it with her explores!

  144. Gakuranman says:

    Haha. Thanks for always checking out my stuff Tornadoes :P

  145. Jon L says:

    Even though I was the 12th visitor to this post :) I forgot to comment how awesome the photos are. Some of the best gunkanjima photos I have ever seen.

  146. Gakuranman says:

    Hi Caprelaez. Thanks for dropping by. I would be happy for you to write a summary in Spanish and include a few pictures, but at this time I'd prefer you didn't translate the whole article to post on another site. Thanks :).

  147. CheddarGav says:

    I am so jealous, it’s a photographic playground!! Kudos tho, you did it justice with some stunning photography, and a very well written story. Thanks for sharing!!!

  148. Capelaez says:

    Hey! beautyful post. Would you mind if i translated this to spanish for posting it on this webpage? http://www.codigovenezuela.com/category/explora

    Obviously with proper credit and links to the original

  149. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for the link Beverley! I actually found the full version of that video that I will post at a later date when I look in more depth at Gunkanjima itself.

  150. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for the link Beverley! I actually found the full version of that video that I will post at a later date when I look in more depth at Gunkanjima itself.

  151. Beverley says:

    Thought you'd be interested to see this film of a man who grew up on the island, visiting for the first time in 30 years http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp97FUlSdqI

  152. Yet another brilliant post (and images!) about a ruin – great job. It would be cool if you could link to Ikumi’s site when she gets one up and running.

  153. Gakuranman says:

    Honeymoon! Now there's a thought!

  154. Janrus says:

    Pretty awesome to look at

  155. dom says:

    This takes me away from reality. Come to think of it, it can actually be an exotic-ly awesome honeymoon place. Really love the sun rays picture.

  156. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Janet :). The post was the culmination of several hours work on the computer after the exploration itself!

  157. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Niall :). It is a real shame when abandoned places get re-furbished, isn't it? All part of the process though, I guess…

  158. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Niall :). It is a real shame when abandoned places get re-furbished, isn't it? All part of the process though, I guess…

  159. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Niall :). It is a real shame when abandoned places get re-furbished, isn't it? All part of the process though, I guess…

  160. Gakuranman says:

    That's my intention – one day it'll be a goldmine, anyway :p.

  161. Gakuranman says:

    That's my intention – one day it'll be a goldmine, anyway :p.

  162. Niall Oshea says:

    Entertaining read, thanks. I get so excited when finding anything abandoned like this but in my local Manchester most of the hundreds of such place have been gentrified into urban apartments etc.

  163. Niall Oshea says:

    Entertaining read, thanks. I get so excited when finding anything abandoned like this but in my local Manchester most of the hundreds of such place have been gentrified into urban apartments etc.

  164. Dan says:

    I live in Sydney, Australia. I am originally from the Philippines and I somehow find myself going back there every now and again for various reasons. We might be going back there for a wedding in December so I want to swing by Japan (or skip the wedding altogether and just go back to Japan). I got ridiculously sad when we left Japan earlier this month so I'm looking for any reason I can to go back there :) Good thing I came across your post on dpreview and discovered your site, seems like an absolute gold mine of things to see and do in Japan.

  165. Dan says:

    I live in Sydney, Australia. I am originally from the Philippines and I somehow find myself going back there every now and again for various reasons. We might be going back there for a wedding in December so I want to swing by Japan (or skip the wedding altogether and just go back to Japan). I got ridiculously sad when we left Japan earlier this month so I'm looking for any reason I can to go back there :) Good thing I came across your post on dpreview and discovered your site, seems like an absolute gold mine of things to see and do in Japan.

  166. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for checking in Lee! All things are possible in the future – I'm sure a chance will come for you to get over there yourself :)

  167. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for checking in Lee! All things are possible in the future – I'm sure a chance will come for you to get over there yourself :)

  168. Gakuranman says:

    Where do you live anyway, Dan?

  169. Gakuranman says:

    Where do you live anyway, Dan?

  170. Gakuranman says:

    Hey Marfil. Nice to hear from you again!

  171. Gakuranman says:

    Hey Marfil. Nice to hear from you again!

  172. Dan says:

    Oooh thanks for the idea, I'll have to look into the reporter/documentary thing. I like the idea of a covert/stealth operation though. But whatever, as long as I get to go I'll be happy. What an amazing place!

  173. Dan says:

    Oooh thanks for the idea, I'll have to look into the reporter/documentary thing. I like the idea of a covert/stealth operation though. But whatever, as long as I get to go I'll be happy. What an amazing place!

  174. Lee says:

    Excellent stuff Mike. You lucky fella you!

    Really like the black and white shots. Especially the third one.

  175. Marfil says:

    What a great adventure, and such amazing photographies!

  176. Gakuranman says:

    Cheers Chris. All the effort seems to have paid off. I'm pleased the post is this popular :)

  177. Chris says:

    awesome location and outstanding photos – great work

  178. Dan says:

    I am in love with place because of your photos. Not only do I want to see this place in person, I feel as though I NEED to see it. My question to you is, how much money do you want for you guys to take me to this place? I promise to keep my mouth shut about the specifics afterwards :p In any case, thanks to both you and Ikumi for risking potential harm to give us these wonderful shots of Battleship Island.

  179. Gakuranman says:

    Hey Ikumi! Thanks for stopping by and for letting me include some of your photos :).

    Where to next, eh? I can't think what would top Gunkanjima, but who knows, there's a whole world out there! Anyone have any suggestions?

    • Samantha says:

      You should head to italy and visit the ancient ruins of Canale, moterano :]
      I was there once with my family, it’s not far from where my mom grew up.
      Absolutely gorgeous! Photographic land mine, and loads of fun to explore.
      I was using a little digital camera, so my shots didn’t nearly capture the beauty of the place.
      If you do go, I suggest late spring, just as things are blooming.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/obelix_1962/3393400330/groups/
      ^ Not my shots, just some I found on google.

    • Antonitwigley says:

      This may be a little late to reply but if you don’t mind the risk try visiting famagusta in eastern cyprus. The town was left derylict after the turks invaded and apparently even the mercedes dealership still houses brand new 1970’s cars! Although the downside is that it is highly protected by the U.N, i remember trying to visit when i was 10, our boat got to close to the island and the UN guards had there guns at the ready.

  180. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for stopping by to comment Lilac :)

  181. Gakuranman says:

    It was a pleasure :)

  182. Jkaesler says:

    Fantastic photos and an equally fantastic write-up, I really enjoyed it! Thank you so much for sharing this incredible place with us. :-)

  183. Gakuranman says:

    Cheers for the kind words Katy! I know what you mean – even the Japanese mainlands can feel overwhelming sometimes. You don't always have to find a Battleship Island to feel like that! ^^;

  184. Gakuranman says:

    Cheers for the kind words Katy! I know what you mean – even the Japanese mainlands can feel overwhelming sometimes. You don't always have to find a Battleship Island to feel like that! ^^;

  185. Gakuranman says:

    Hey, thanks for the comment! I've shared about as much as I could I'm afraid. I know how much other readers would love to visit the island, but it would cause no end of trouble for the boat captain and other people if I divulge anything further. I hope you understand :(. That said, there are official tours you can take. Check out the pages (in Japanese) here: http://www.takashima-kaijou.jp/ and here: http://www.gunkan-jima.net/

  186. Gakuranman says:

    Hi. Thanks for your reply. Could you let me know the thread where you post the photos? I'd like to see what people think :)

  187. kshitij says:

    This is cool stuff. Can you share some notes on how to get there if someone else has to. I may be in Japan for some work in Oct and would love to make a dash to this place. Also, can one not spend the night out there…obviously incognito.

  188. Recep says:

    Hi. I'm Recep. i'm turkish peoples. Beautiful photos. To be described with one word, did exhibit a great share. I'll publish those photos you shoot under your (in bilisimcell.net forum).

  189. Katy says:

    Absolutely stunning! The photos in themselves are excellent, but with the commentary it just gives them a whole new meaning. I travelled around Honshu last February, and even that felt near-impenetrable, but this is just like a million adventures rolled into one. I am jealous, inspired, and grateful to you for opening this place up to us.

  190. Janet says:

    This is an amazing post and you're so lucky to have visited such an awesome place. Brilliant photos and commentary, thanks for sharing this with us :D

  191. Gakuranman says:

    That's some nice artwork. Thanks for linking it :)

  192. Gakuranman says:

    That's some nice artwork. Thanks for linking it :)

  193. Gakuranman says:

    I reckon so, but the adventurer in me just wouldn't allow it ^^;;

  194. It would be neat if someone could buy the entire place and turn it into an eco-green place, powered by solar, or other renewable energy, etc…

    It certainly has a lot of potential.

  195. Gakuranman says:

    Haha. I have heard stories of a couple of organisations that take people out via the unrecognised route. I wonder how much they charge..? Also, I think if you apply as a reporter or are making a documentary, it might also be possible to get official permission, though I have no idea how much it would run to after all the safety procedures have been rubber-stamped and followed!

  196. ikumi says:

    My search with you was very interesting!
    And… it was very exciting urbex!
    Where shall I go next time? :)

  197. lilac powder says:

    Beautiful photos! It’s my wildest dream to step foot on the island. You’re really lucky to be able to explore it!

  198. Gakuranman says:

    Hi Mathieu. Thanks for your comment :). I have been experimenting more and more with my photography and post processing techniques recently, so I'm very happy to hear that people find them imaginative and creative. Tourist boats on Gunkanjima are definitely a bad sign for future explorers, but not all is lost yet.

    Nice, colourful site yourself by the way!

  199. Gakuranman says:

    Sad for them, but good for me :p. But really, it is a fascinating hobby discovering things people have long left behind.

  200. Gakuranman says:

    Definitely worth a visit!

  201. Gakuranman says:

    Cheers man. I know – I felt a bit guilty after reading your Gunkanjima post :/. Well, if it's any consolation, at least you know it's still possible despite the tourist boats! Hopefully meet up with you sometime soon :)

  202. Hi there.I discovered your site thanks to some link I founded in mike blender's blog (that I also discovered by accident;), and I have to say that it's really nice.Your shots here are well done and show us what we need to make our imagination works properly, and try to get what could be the atmosphere there.This place looks indeed quite massive, and it must be impressive to walk among these 100 years old concrete buildings. Also it's a great spot to make some shots…unfortunately the tourist boat part kills a bit the adventure feel , but I am sure it's definitely worth the visit anyway.

  203. Will Purcell says:

    That is an incredible place and it's sad how quick people were to abandon places like these because of industrialization. Keep posts like these coming.

  204. Aliciagirl says:

    Very cool. Glad you could share it all. :)

  205. Gakuranman says:

    It certainly was (cost quite a packet too, with the return flight, hotel and car costs!) Totally worth it though :)

  206. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks :). It's nice to be he one making people speechless this time. I've often found myself gawping in disbelief at fellow explorer's photos!

  207. Gakuranman says:

    Hey, thanks for your comment :). Check out my other explores here:

    http://gakuran.com/category/adventure/haikyo

    Ikumi is currently working on a site of her own, I believe.

  208. Stigofthedump says:

    Very nice! Do you have some other abandonements you've explored? What about your companion. I'm guessing she must have explored a ton of places!

  209. Josh says:

    I think I'm speechless like everyone else here. Wow.

  210. Wonderful post, and great photos! I envy you — that must have been an amazing trip.

  211. Gakuranman says:

    I certainly hope so! We only just scratched the surface of the place ;)

  212. This is amazing! How I would love to set foot on this island and explore. Good fortune for you to have someone like Ikumi who has been there many times. Hopefully good fortune will smile on you again in the future and you will get to return to Hashima. Great photos! I feel I know the place a little better after viewing them.

  213. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Kirk :) It's a great piece of history to visit, even on the official tour.

  214. Gakuranman says:

    Cheers Loco :) It really was that mysterious. There all sorts of different scenes, from the early morning gloom and golden sun to the vivid blues skies and even flowers in certain areas!

  215. Jamaipanese says:

    awesome photos and an awesome blogpost. I hope I'll be able to visit this island one day. Good work pal!

  216. Locohama says:

    I don't know what to say except: WOW! I actually thought as I went through this post, whether or not Battleship Island in reality looked as mysterious and dangerous and adventurous as you made it look in your pics! That is the best compliment I can give to your photography! Reality plus! Thanks for sharing your amazing adventure!
    Loco

  217. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks James. It was amazing – I hope my rushed shots and tale did it a little bit of justice!

  218. Ronald Tan says:

    Awesome photos! I hope to visit Gunkanjima if I travel to Japan again!

  219. Florian says:

    Congratulations, that’s by far the most impressive haikyo posting I’ve ever read – great text, even better pictures! You have no idea how much I envy you for that experience… well, maybe you have.
    Struck with awe,
    Florian

  220. James says:

    Incredible shots as always and a great tale to boot! Must've been amazing to visit such a desolate and forgotten place

    • Glam_anna says:

      Hi there,

      Great photos!
      Is it possible to tell me how did you manage to get there? i tried to surf the internet, only “guided” tours available.
      Are we allow to go into the area ( i mean without trouble)?

      Thanks heaps!

  221. fantastic pictures! great post gakuranman!!!

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