Populated from 1887 to 1974. During that time the island was used as a coal mining facility. The island had Japan’s first large 9-story concrete building, about 30 apartment blocks, 20 shops, 2 pools, a school, hospital, and a cemetery.
This lively island quickly became an abandoned one after 1960’s, when petroleum replaced coal in Japan, and country’s coal mines were shutting down. Hashima’s mines officially closed in 1974, and the island was finally opened for sightseeing in 2009.
It gets even better. You can take a virtual walk through this unique island. Yes, that is right - the island has Street View (click here for it)! Google sent their employee with a Street View backpack to take a walk through this fascinating island. The result of that will make your jaw drop. You can even go inside of the buildings. So awesome.
Photo credit: 1. 2006-05 Gunkanjima 09 by Peter Enyeart/Flickr, 2. 2006-05 Gunkanjima 21 by Peter Enyeart/Flickr, 3. Gunkanjima Nagasaki by Dozodomo/Flickr, 4. Google Street View screenshot.