Hashima Island in Nagasaki is also known as Gunkanjima aka Battleship island, because from a distance it looks like a ship.
The island has been abandoned for many many years, and was the inspiration for the bad guys lair in the Bond movie Skyfall.
I have to admit the main point of my trip to Nagasaki was to visit this island.
We booked an afternoon tour online in advance with Black Diamond.
The boat trip itself was ok, we sat up top on the left hand side and we had a great view of a new cruise ship being constructed as we sailed by, as it says when you book there are two pick up points and then a stop in Takashima to visit the Mining Museum.
There was a guided talk which we didnt really pay much attention to, its all in Japanese but we had already researched the history of the place online before hand. The museum had some interesting bits and pieces, but it was very small and our boat trip seemed sold out so was very busy.
Getting back on the boat to go to Hashima everyone sat in different places, we went to the front of the boat up top on the left hand side again. Mistake, you need to sit on the right hand side if you want to see the island when approaching.
The sea was choppy and the boat had real problems docking, it took so long it ate into our actual time on the island, which must only have been about 30mins at most.
We decided to linger and let everyone off the boat first so we could loiter behind to take clear pictures. Mistake number 2. Its a guided tour and the tour guide wants to talk to everyone, a member of the crew told us to hurry up and started prodding J in the back. 100 or so people all gathered together means you cant really get good pictures.
The parts of the island you can access are concreted paths with railings, so you cant explore at all (which is probably a good thing as most areas looked precarious at least, perilous at most) but you cant get good photos through the railings, or over peoples heads.
Also the only area you can visit is the mining area, which is not the apartment side, probably the most well known part.
I did what I could. Grabbed what shots I could quickly through the crowd.
Quick picture whilst being told to get back on the ship as were leaving.
Last to get back on.
The tour and the island are very popular at the moment (I went on a random Monday and it was full), the time on the island was short and stressful with lots of people pushing and trying to see at the front. I wouldnt go again, and if your thinking of going expect the same situation. If you think its not worth the hassle, this is a great website that will let you virtually explore from home.