A few miles off the coast of Japan lies "Battleship Island," or Gunkanjima (軍艦島), the Japanese nickname for Hashima Island, due to its resemblance to the Japanese Tosa battleship. The island was formerly a densely populated coal mining town, purchased by Mitsubishi in 1890, but by the 1960s the coal was running out, and in 1974 the island was quickly vacated as Mitsubishi offered residents jobs elsewhere. Now, the island is an urban explorer's dream, though the island is not completely open to the public for tours. Last year, Google trekker walked the island, providing a virtual tour of the island. And if the roughly 40 year old ruins aren't foreboding enough, Bryan James put together a Chrome experiment called Hashima Island: Forgotten World, based on the Google maps tour of the site.
Kamikuishiki was a village in the Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan that gained unwanted international attention in 1995 as a key location for Aum Shinrikyo, the religious cult behind a number of acts of violence, including the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. To change the nature of attention given to the picturesque village, a new attraction was built on the former site of the cult complex: Gulliver's Kingdom, a mixed up theme park with a Scandinavian town, a petting zoo, a French puppet theater to tell the story of Gulliver, and a 45 meter version of Gulliver himself, pinned to the ground. The park was opened in 1997, but Niigata Chuo Bank was facing serious problems two years later, collapsing "under the weight of nonperforming loans." The theme park's owners were the largest borrowers from the bank, and the park closed in 2001. The park was finally purchased in 2002 in the 3rd auction attempt. In 2006, Kamikuishiki disappeared, divided and the parts merged into neighboring municipalities. The next year, Gulliver's Kingdom was demolished, leaving behind photos (new and old), and memories.
Urban exploration Japan: abandoned mining town. Step into the doctor's office for a dose of creepy. Three-part photo essay. [more inside]
Amazing collection of several galleries full of Japanese "urban ruins" photos, including abandoned amusement parks, refineries, apartment blocks, hospitals, schools, bowling alleys, & much more, including Battleship Island, the (previously posted) abandoned coal mining island off the coast of Nagasaki. Via.
Gunkanjima or Battleship Island is 480 x 160 meters and was home to more than 5000 people. Abandoned for more than 40 years it is a microcosm of 20th century industrial development. A soundtrack to the photos. Or take the multimedia tour. Urban exploration.
You've probably seen Modern Ruins, Forgotten New York, and even Lost America... but have you seen the abandoned island of Gunkanjima? [via Boing Boing]