The abandoned island that once had a city

It is called Hashima. They called it “the island without green”, because there was only cement and concrete. It had an industrial city on it. This islet was abandoned in 1974 and nature came back with a vengeance. It was one of the most densely populated places on the planet. The abandoned island that had a city today looks like a ghost town from the traditional series of zombies.

It is 400 meters long and 150 meters wide. In 1887 a coal seam was found there. Mitshubishi bought the islet to exploit it. In 1916 the mine produced 150,000 tons of coal. It became a human anthill.

The abandoned island that once had a city now greens up.
The abandoned island that once had a city now greens.

Table of Contents


With the advent of World War I, there was a marked increase in the demand for coal. At that time, about 3,000 inhabitants lived there. The workers involved in coal mining had very hard working days. However, they enjoyed high wages. Mitshubishi began to build the first reinforced concrete buildings for the workers.

These were basic properties, where luxury was not contemplated. The apartments were small and consisted of one room with a window, a door and a hallway. The bathrooms and kitchen were shared.

In 1917, what was for a long time the tallest building in Japan was built in the center of the island. It had nine stories. From then on, the island earned the nickname “the island without green”. There was no place for nature. The population growth demanded the creation of a school, stores, a cinema, a hospital, and a casino. Later came a sanctuary, tennis courts, cafes and even a public swimming pool.

On the ruins, plants reclaim their place.
Above the ruins, plants reclaim their place.


In 1960, the island reached its highest population, about 5000 people. But from then on, the decline began. Crude oil began to replace coal. Mitsubishi had to relocate workers to other areas. The official closure happened a few years later, in 1974. In 2002 the company donated the island to Nagasaki and in 2009 it was reopened for tourists.

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