Google Street View for Abandoned Japanese island of Gunkanjima | Via
Google Street View seems to have its priorities all out of whack. While only just getting around to snapping the more remote areas of mainland Japan and having yet to cover the majority of Canada, Google sent out one intrepid employee to explore the completely abandoned Japanese island of Gunkanjima.
Gunkanjima (“Battleship Island”) is actually a nickname for the island of Hashima which, lo and behold, looks a lot like a battleship from afar. The island was inhabited for around a hundred years, primarily by coal miners harvesting the rock until the 1970s when petroleum mostly supplanted coal in Japanese industry. As the coal mines shut down, the island’s approximately 5,000 inhabitants had no choice but to pack up and head back to the mainland; there were no other jobs on the island since, you know, a tiny, isolated landmass of concrete apartment buildings and coal mines is a bad place to start a McDonald’s franchise.
Although the island was finally reopened to the public in 2009, after 35 years of being declared off-limits, it’s kind of a hike getting out there and we hear the amenities suck, so you might be better off satisfying your curiosity with a Street View search.