Deserted Islands to Visit in Japan

There’s always something about a deserted place that draws the attention. Whether it be the longing for solitude, the desire to quell an adventurous spirit, or just to satisfy a curious mind. Visiting a deserted island is a good thing to add to any ones bucket list. Japan has quite a few islands that can satisfy the wanderlust in you. Here are some deserted islands to explore when in Japan:

Hashima Island

Hashima island, also known as Gunkanjima (or ‘Battleship Island’) and Ghost Island, was known for its undersea coal mines when coal was discovered on the area sometime in 1810.

Hashima Island. | Kevin Dooley

The coal mining industry operated during the industrialization of Japan. When Mitsubishi Goshi Kaisha obtained the island, it began extracting coal from undersea mines and sea walls, and land reclamation tripled the actual size of the island. When the island was still a flourishing coal mining community, Mitsubishi Goshi Kaisha bought it in 1890 and built a large nine story concrete building. It was considered the most densely populated place per square meter in the entire world.In 1974, as the coal reserves of the island were nearing depletion, the mine was closed and all of the residents left the island. Between 1891 to 1974, about 15.7 million tons of coal were excavated in mines with high temperatures and humidity.

Sarushima Island

Sarushima is the only deserted island floating in Tokyo Bay and is the easiest to access from the city. Saru-shima or “Monkey Island” used to be a battery by the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo period and after the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The island was also developed as part of the Yokosuka Navy Yard when Matthew Perry  opened up Japan to foreign trade. After WWII, Sarushima was developed as a marine park with swimming and camping facilities.

Sarushima. | cacho_please

There are still many remains from the war such as the red brick barracks and powder magazine. The island tells many tales of Japan’s historical past.

Nagannu Island

Nagannu Island is very close to the main island of Okinawa. It is considered to be the best place to visit for its pristine beach.

Naganuu. | ume-y

The island is well preserved and unspoiled. Visitors to Nagannu can enjoy a number of activities from snorkeling to whale watching. A visit to the unblemished island is a great day trip from Okinawa.