Battleship Island in Nagasaki, a World Heritage Site and Location of “Attack on Titan”
“Attack on Titan” is now a big hit anime in the world. The anime was adopted for a live-action movie, and this Gunkanjima island (aka. Battleship Island) in Nagasaki Prefecture was used as a filming location.
This island however is not just a filming location for “Attack on Titan” but it is actually a World Heritage Site with historical significance.
As I would like all of you to visit Gunkanjima, not only anime fans but also those who don’t know anything about “Attack on Titan”, let me introduce this time the charm of the island along with a recommended tour.
What is Gunkanjima Island?
The official name of the island is “Hashima”, and it is a very small island with a total length of 480 m. The island looks like a warship and people started calling it Gunkanjima (meaning “warship island”).
The island experienced a rapid development along with development in coal mining, which continued until 1974.
There were many people living on the island and it had everything necessary for living, such as apartments, schools, hospitals, or public bath facilities.
During its peak period, the island was even famous for having the highest population density in the world.
However, the main energy source gradually shifted from coal to petroleum.
People moved away from the island, and in 1974 it became an uninhabited island again.
After that, the island was closed and no trespassing was allowed for a long time. But it was re-evaluated as a rare island that retained traces of lives at the time, and now it is recognized as a World Heritage Site.
These days people all over the world started coming to Nagasaki in order to get a glance of this island.
I Tried “Gunkanjima Concierge” Plan for Landing & Tour on the Island!
While many companies offer tours, I decided on “Gunkanjima Concierge” plan, which includes landing and a tour on the island.
I recommend booking for a set plan of this tour and a visit at Gunkanjima Digital Museum, in which the museum admission fee is reduced by half.
The official website of the tour company is here.
<A Set Plan of Landing Tour & Digital Museum>
Fees for individual booking:
Adults: 4,000 yen for the ship, 300 yen for island admission, and 900 yen for museum
Junior High & High School Students: 3,300 yen, 300 yen, and 650 yen, respectively
Elementary School Students: 2,000 yen, 150 yen, and400 yen, respectively
Gunkanjim Tour in its Entirety
I came to the port for the meeting time. I arrived at the place 15 minutes before the time, but there already was a line of people to my surprise.
If you have preference in the seat on the ship, you might want to come earlier.
The ship was relatively clean, and it had seats both outside and inside.
Even when you get a seat where you cannot view the outside well, don’t get disappointed too much. When the ship comes close enough to see the island, they let you come on the deck first.
However, when you are using wireless connection for English translation, it seems easier to receive radio waves in a seat on the floor above.
About 40 minutes after boarding on the ship at the port, the island came into my view, and it was literally like a warship!
As the ship travels around the island first, you can take pictures from the deck.
As soon as the ship came to the island, I landed quickly. We were guided to three places on the island and received detailed explanation at each place.
As the explanation is given by a person who had lived on the island before, you can listen to genuine experiences of living here.
After listening to the explanation, you will have free time. So long as you don’t go into the restricted area, you can take pictures anywhere.
There are plenty of good shooting spots that are irresistible for ruins lovers, for example there were buildings destroyed by big waves.
The explanation includes the function of each building, and you can enjoy the tour more if you imagine how people lived there back then.
After you enjoy the tour on the island, you will board the ship again and it will take you back to the town of Nagasaki.
Gunkanjima Digital Museum
The Digital Museum is a state-of-the-art museum that uses digital technology abundantly.
Unlike ordinary museums this museum was quite entertaining and it didn’t leave me bored, for example it allowed me to experience places where we were not permitted to get in, using the virtual reality.
As you can learn more about the history of the island, please visit the museum either before or after the guided tour.
For detail, please refer to the official website here.
And that concludes my introduction, and how did you like it?
Gunkanjima was newly registered as a World Heritage Site recently, and it is a high time to visit the island. I really hope you visit the island and enjoy the experience!