Battleship Island - Japan’s rotting metropolis « Viceland.com
These days the only things that land on Hashima Island are the shits of passing seagulls. An hour or so’s sail from the port of Nagasaki, the abandoned island silently crumbles. A former coal mining facility owned by Mitsubishi Motors, it was once the most densely populated place on earth, packing over 13,000 people into each square kilometre of its residential high-risers. It operated from 1887 until 1974, after which the coal industry fell into decline and the mines were shut for good. Today it is illegal to go anywhere near the place as it's beyond restoration and totally unsafe. The punishment for being caught visiting Hashima Island is 30 days in prison followed by immediate deportation. Bobbing into view, the grey seawall’s artificial angling of the island gives it the shape of a battleship – hence its Japanese name in popular mythology, "Gunkanjima" - Battleship Island. We explored the empty classrooms of the island’s huge school.