After the island was completely deserted, it became known as 'Ghost Island', the empty buildings now only play home to residual memories of the past.
At one time Hashima Island was described as the most densely populated place in the world. Now it is completely empty, the buildings starting to tumble as nature takes the island back for her own.
Located just fifteen kilometres off the western coast of the Nagasaki Peninsula, the island was just another piece of land breaking up the East China Sea, until coal was discovered on the sea floor. With this discovery, the Mitsubishi Company purchased the island in 1890 (though it was began to be populated from 1887), and began to set up undersea mines in which to retrieve the coal.
This first apartment block was nine stories high, and could house several hundred workers. Soon more and more blocks were built, until the island reached its population peak of 5,259 in 1959. This will have been quite a crush of people, considering Hashima was barely 500 meters long, and only 150 meters wide. This population packed into such a small space gave it the highest population density anywhere in the world.
Almost every piece of land was built upon, until the point where the natural aspects of the rock were covered, and the island took on a much more artificial look.
A sea wall was constructed, to help alleviate flooding when seas were rough, and a small hospital for the inevitable accidents that come with mining. It is not known how many deaths took place on the island, and in the undersea mines, but people that had lived on the island make mention that there were many, with more than a few being needless.
Leaving It All Behind...
People left the island so quickly, that many left the majority of their possessions behind. The blackboards in the classrooms still contain the writing from lessons long past, and houses still contain much of their furniture, in some instances plates, cups and cutlery still laid out on tables.
Bicycles are left to rust in the streets, and children's toys gather dust in rooms and corridors. Posters still manage to cling to walls that crumble with a touch, and books sadly flap open and closed in the dust choked breezes that blow gently amongst the claustrophobic alleys between buildings.
Today you can book a walking tour of the island, the buildings are off limits due to risk of collapse, but several board walks have been created so people can enjoy one of the relics of Japan's industrial past.
An interesting fact about the island was that it was used for the external shots of Bond villain Silva's deserted island in 'Skyfall'.