Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
The Filming Location Of "Attack On Titan"! Gunkanjima, Nagasaki
"Attack on Titan" is a highly popular manga around the world and was turned into a movie in 2015. To recreate the iconic landscape of the manga, the movie was filmed on Gunkanjima, Nagasaki, a former coal mine center. Let's check it out through Google Str
Written by LIFE STYLE, Inc.
"Attack on Titan" (Shingeki no kyōjin) is a hugely popular manga not only in Japan, but worldwide. It was also made into a movie in 2015. Do you know where the movie "Attack on Titan" was filmed?
The location chosen to create the ruined world which is the setting of the manga was Hashima Island. Commonly called Gunkanjima (軍艦島), this island has been registered as a World Heritage site in July 2015.
Let us check out the island through Google Street View.
Gunkajima is Located in Nagasaki
Gunkanjima is a small semi-artificial island about 19 kilometers from Nagasaki port. It takes approximately 40 minutes to reach it by boat. It is 160 meters wide and 480 meters long, with an area of 6.4 ha. It was nicknamed Gunkanjima, which means "Warship Island" in Japanese, because it looks like a warship when you look down on it from above.
With the coal mine development that began here in 1870, at its peak there were more than 5000 people living on the island. But as time passed, the main source of energy shifted from coal to oil, and the mine was closed in 1974, leaving Gunkanjima deserted. Left behind on the uninhabited island were Japan's first high-rise reinforced concrete apartments and coal mining facilities.
Decades later the general public was allowed to visit the island (starting in April 2009), and since then Gunkanjima has become a tourist spot.
It seems that over 800,000 tourists have visited Gunkanjima via tours until now. In July 2015 the island was officially registered on the World Heritage list of "Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining".
First, Let's Approach Gunkanjima by Sea
This is what Gunkanjima looks like from the sea. You can feel the pre-landing elation from the screen.
With your cursor on the screen, click and drag the screen and try moving around. The scenery will move in all directions as if you would be turning your head to explore it.
Next put your cursor on the left side of the screen and click. The view will advance to the left, reaching the Dolphin Pier, the entrance to Gunkanjima. Dolphin Pier plays a large role in getting ashore, because Gunkanjima is known for the strong currents that prevent easy landings.
Landed on Gunkanjima!
Okay, we've finally arrived at Gunkanjima.
The red building you can see right in front of you is the general office from when Gunkajima prospered as a coal mining city. The brick-built building played a central role in the mining area and was like the control tower of the island.
They say that around 80 employees resided inside and directed activities throughout the island. At the time, children were not allowed inside this building and it apparently was a special space just for adults. This general area was the center of the island and there used to be various buildings here, but most of them can't be seen today.
From the façade of the red general office, you can sense a little of what it was like back then.
This is the residential area. Though deserted now, countless people used to live in housing complexes like this one. At its peak, Gunkanjima boasted a population density nine times that of Tokyo.
These square-shaped frames lined up in a row are pillars that were used for a conveyor belt. Coal moved along these to be stored in a coal yard, and were then loaded onto a carrier.
Inside the Ruins
With Street View, you can see inside ruins that are usually off-limits to the public.
"People used to live here."
Remind yourself of this as you let your mind wander to the distant past. You can also see a refrigerator and a cooking stove, and if you advance further you can check out the living room where people probably enjoyed their family time.
The "Gunkanjima Digital Museum" for Those Who Get Seasick
In Nagasaki there is a facility called the "Gunkanjima Digital Museum" that helps you travel back in time to the Gunkanjima of those days using the latest technology. It is a museum where you can experience the energy of the island back then and also have a look at areas that you wouldn't be able to see on a real tour - through huge screens and projection mapping. By coming here you will be able to enjoy Gunkanjima even if you don't like traveling by sea.
If you are a fan of "Attack on Titan", someone who loves ruins, or just a traveler to Japan who wants to see something different and unique, you're bound to like this place.
Gunkanjima Digital Museum
Address: Nagasaki, Nagasaki, Matsugaemachi 5-6
Hours: 09:00 - 18:00 (Last admission 17:30)
Credit cards: VISA, AMEX, MasterCard
Languages: English, Japanese
Menu in Other Languages: English
Nearest station: Ōura Tenshudō Shita Station of Nagasaki Electric Tramway
Access: 1-minute walk from Ōura Tenshudō Shita Station
Admission fee: General 1800 yen, middle/high school students 1300 yen, elementary school students 800 yen, children age 3 - 6 500 yen, children under age 3 free
Phone number: +81-95-895-5000
Homepage: Gunkanjima Digital Museum