Japan's abandoned Battleship Island is now on Google Street View

Illustration for article titled Japans abandoned Battleship Island is now on Google Street View

Located off the coast of Nagasaki, the long-abandoned Hashima Island (also known as "Gunkanjima" or "Battleship Island") was the inspiration for Raoul Silva's lair in Skyfall. Now, thanks to Google Maps, you can visit the island on Street View.

Mitsubishi used Hashima Island as a coal mining facility; the inhabitants of the large concrete apartment buildings retrieved coal from underwater mines. But as Japan moved from coal to petroleum for its energy needs, coal mines began to close, and Mitsubishi announced the closing of the Hashima Island mines in 1974. The workers left the island, leaving the buildings to crumble.

Google received permission from the city of Nagasaki to take one of its Trekker backpacks to the island. You can watch the trekking below:

Or take your own virtual tour of the island:


Hashima Island [Google Street View via Presurfer]

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Cool. There's another real "Battleship" Island, in Manila Bay near Corregidor. In the early 1900s engineers converted the small rocky El Fraile Island into a concrete fortress mounting two dual 12" gun turrets; it came to be called Fort Drum. It was captured by the Japanese during WW-II, then recaptured by the Allies. It's on Google Earth at 14º 18' 18.17" N, 120º 37' 49.72"E.