Hashima Island – Walk in the footsteps of James Bond

While perusing this Lonely Planet article, I discovered that it’s now possible to tour the Japanese island showcased in the James Bond movie Skyfall.

The island of Gunkai-jima (also known as Hashima-jima), about 15km from Nagasaki, served as the secret base of the arch-villain Raoul Silva in the film Skyfall. Tours leave from Nagasaki for this truly peculiar abandoned coal mining island, which resembles a giant battleship (hence the Japanese name, which means ‘Battleship Island’).

According to Japan Times Hashima Island was once home to a now defunct coal mine. All that remains now is the crumbling concrete buildings that were used to house the workers during it occupation from 1887 to 1974. With its concrete sea wall surrounding it, Hashima Island almost gives the impression of a fortified base or even a prison similar to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco.

No doubt Hashima Island’s ominous appearance had a lot to do with why it was chosen as the evil boss base in Skyfall.

Photo by Ville Misaki.

Photo by Ville Misaki.

How to Visit Hashima Island

According to Wikipedia, sightseeing boat trips around the island are provided by two operators; Yamasa-Kaiun from Nagasaki Port, Kyodo Co. from Nomo Island. As of April 22, 2009, the island is open once again for public visits, with Yamasa Kaiun providing transportation to the island from Nagasaki.

Japan Guide gives the following information if your planning a visit:

Tour boats are operated by multiple companies and depart from various locations in Nagasaki Port, including the Nagasaki Port Ferry Terminal near the Ohato tram stop (3 minutes by tram line 1 from Nagasaki Station) and the Tokiwa Terminal near the Ourakaikandori tram stop (15 minutes by tram line 1 and 5 from Nagasaki Station).

Tours typically take about three hours, including close to an hour spent on the island itself, and cost around 4000 yen per person. Note that in case of bad weather or high waves, landing on the island might not be possible or boats might not be able to operate at all. One company also offers a 2-hour tour that only circles around the island for 3300 yen. Advance reservations are recommended especially on weekends and during holidays.

2 Responses to “Hashima Island – Walk in the footsteps of James Bond”

  1. zoomingjapan  on June 4th, 2013

    I went to Gunkanjima a few years ago, long before it was featured in the newest James Bond movie.
    I took a guided tour. At that time you were only allowed to access the island with a group tour.

    It’s very interesting and I recommend visiting if you’re in Nagasaki.

  2. Travis  on June 4th, 2013

    That’s really cool Zoomingjapan. Looks like a crazy place. Too bad they don’t let you wander around :)

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