Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gunkanjima - The battleship island

We woke up early, watched the sunrise from our room over Nagasaki harbour. Had a really yummy full-fledged Japanese breakfast with a stunning view. Hopped into the limo and arrived at this Tokiwa Terminal for our lil tour.

JS is not a control freak at all...He gave Monkey the freedom to plan watever whichever wherever for all our vacation. So the Control Queen aka Monkey planned everything as usual. This lil tour requires booking and reservation plus payment in advance. The details stated we had to be there by 10am for briefing *Which was in Japanese*, more safety protocols annoucement *which was in Japanese*, more papers and documents to sign in case we were drowned, abducted, killed, murdered, yada yada and all those indemnity forms.

JS was so excited over this lil tour to Hashima Island. He needed more places and subjects for his photography works. While Monkey was yawn-ing away. It's so cold~~~~ I am so sleepy~~~~~What's that man thinking about?? fishing this early?

the shipyard around Nagasaki Harbour is's so busy!!! in such a narrow harbour.

Finally all the Japanese tourists + 2 non-Japanese *which were us* hopped into the vessel for a 45 minutes journey. I guess it was shorter depends on the weather of the day.

Hashima is a lil island situated about 15km away from Nagasaki at the open sea. Mitsubishi bought this island in 1890 and began its massive extraction works - coal mining from the seabed. During the peak of the industrialisation of Japan, this tiny 480 metres x 150 metres island.....*really really tiny* housed about 5000 workers and their family. It was then the most dense and populated place on Planet Earth.

The journey was very smooth, calm and fun because the tour guides were so entertaining, all the guests/tourists were LOL-ing all the way *except the 2 of us -_- *

Thankfully I was with an english audio guide. Throughout the 45 minutes journey, there's so much sight to see, some other smaller islands, Mitsubishi's HUGE shipyard, beautiful churches and cathedrals by the seaside.

and then we arrived...
everyone was so silent. No wonder it's called the Ghost Island~~~

abandoned in 1974 due to the decline of coal-mining, Mitsubishi then offered their 5000 workers jobs on the mainland....but..on a 1st come 1st served basis. So everyone left in a hurry like a pandemic. Books were strewn in the rooms, glasses were still on the tables. It's basically like they did not pack anything and just left like that. Sounds strange huh?

our boat/vessel/ferry then made a 360 degrees tour around this small island. We saw the living quarters, the school, from primary to secondary, the main administrative building and it looked so haunted...

Gunkanjima is named after Battleship Island because from afar this place looked like one with its high concrete wall of about 9 metres tall, to protect it from destructive typhoons. Yeah this place is right smack in the middle of the sea with nothing else to protect it and it's so tiny.

The original name of this island is Hashima Island.

The Vessel paused for a bit here n there....and that's when all the drama started....SEA SICK!!! half of the tourists were either konk-ed or zzzzzzzz to combat this.

I was perpetually looking over the horizon to stabilise myself on my own seat...while JS was as usual - no where to be found. He was at the top tier of the boat, basically on its roof...snapping pics like some National Geographic Photographer.

At first he was complaining that he couldn't get the best spot bcoz everyone was clammering about. Finally due to sea-sickness most of the tourists went back to their own seat and konk-ed. The sea was pretty choppy, the vessel was swaying from left to right, JS used his leg to "hook" into one of the pole like a pole dancer and with both of his hands securing his lil, that baby wasn't was his Leica camera. But thanks to him, we all have all these beautiful pics :))))))))

All these while Monkey was seated on her comfy warm seat inside the vessel while JS was battling with the other tourists for the best spot, standing with no chairs. LOL But it was also tough for me bcoz I'm not very well traveled when it comes to the SEA.

Gunkanjima was closed to public but did I see someone in yellow at the edge of this 9 metres concrete???? or my eyes were playing tricks on me...oh nvm...can't be so lucky to see a "Ju-on" on a bright day light.

Anyway Gunkanjima was closed in 1974 and abandoned since then. Only in 2005 it was re-opened for journalists and registered photographers. No one wanted to go's that bad..and yes it's that eerie.

In the movie James Bond: SkyFall...Gunkanjima was featured innit but only digitally produced bcoz no filming was allowed on the island due to safety reason. So the team re-produced the island from shots taken from their robotics camera.

We were goin round and round and round the island and my head was spinning around as well....oh gawd...I can't hold it any longer. This is really torturing and bubbly JS kept coming down and showed me all his masterpiece pics...

"Please get away from me, I think I m gonna throw up anytime!!!"
JS: "okie lor..." pouted his lips and dashed off happily

Finally we are disembarking!!!!!!
Not at the port but at the island itself

JS: "We get to go down and walk around?????" beaming with really really big wide smiles
" would u please move forward coz I think I wanna throw up at the island."

All the passenger then hopped safely and step foot onto the island. Now Gunkanjima is opened to public and the tourists through registered tours like this. I guess only quite recently like back in 2009

The atmosphere is really eerie down here, the 2 stupid seabirds or watever birds made it even worse with their continuous ARKKK ARKK ARKKK

All of us were staring at each other like we are in some stupid Blair Witch Project.
>.< I wanna go home!!!!

Then the tour continued for another 45 minutes with a lot of explanation on the sector and section of this lil island. The guides were showing us the pics during the peak and glory of Gunkanjima. The other thing we were told to do, were to stay close to each other. The staffs kept on doing head counts with their lil counter on their hand just in case the seabirds decided to come and abduct one of us for their feast.

Tourists were only allowed on certain landing area. We wished we have permission to go to the other sides for more beautiful pics.

The state here is so bad bcoz no maintenance were done, oh well who needs maintenance here? Only the white beacon on top was new to warn incoming ships of this island because at nite, u can't really see a thing here. There isn't any lights.

"JS u stay close to me!!!!! don't walk too far away snapping pics. I'm gonna kill you if I lost you."
JS: "Okie lor." and hopped over to another side like a hyperactive child."

So u see I don't need to have kids, I already have one with me now.

He claimed he's the new Double O seven shooting away with his camera
*wham face onto palm*

and then it's time to go, after almost an hour on the island.

Sayonara Gunkanjima, till the next time.
NO I think this will be the only time :))) What an experience. Never in my life I would imagine that we will visit such eerie place. Japanese friends couldn't believe it either...U went to Gunkanjima??? U actually landed there???

Yes we came, we saw, we shivered and left
You too can visit Gunkanjima, for more information please visit this website:

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