Hashima (Abandoned) Island

Monday, 16th April 2007 by

Hashima Island, 15 kilometres from Nagasaki, Japan, was once the densest human development on Earth, and today stands completely empty and abandoned.

Mitsubishi bought the island in 18901 and began using it as a coal mining facility. When space for the workers began to run out, they built Japan's first large scale reinforced concrete apartment block on the island in 1916. More concrete tower blocks followed, and by 1959 the population of Hashima reached its peak of 5,259 - an astonishing 1,391 people per 10,000 square metres within the residential district - which is said to be the highest population density ever recorded in the world.

When petroleum began to replace coal here in the 1960s, coal production at Hashima began to decline, and Mitsubishi officially announced the closure of the mine in 1974. Today there is nobody left at all. Protected by a high sea wall, and completely off-limits to the public, the island is now an empty, rotting and collapsing ghost town, as clearly demonstrated in this fantastically eerie photo set2.

For more information on this incredible place, here's a short documentary, an excellent in-depth story and a rather short Wikipedia page.

Thanks to George Mandis, Rob Alexandre and Eric.

  1. Yes, Mitsubishi has been around that long, but it turns out that name actually refers to a large grouping of independently operated Japanese companies which share the Mitsubishi brand name↩︎

  2. For anyone thinking this place would make a great level for a computer game... it just happens somebody already did it↩︎