It appears that 1974 was an excellent year for abandoning things: not only the world’s most popular resort town (see post below), but also its most densely populated area became completely deserted that year. About 5,000 people lived on Hashima (also know as Gunkanshima), a small island near the Japanese city of Nagasaki, once – but not anymore.
Owned by Mitshubishi, Hashima used to be one large coal mine – its inevitable demise came when Japan’s industry switched to petroleum and virtually all coal mines in the country were disbanded. Abandoned virtually overnight in 1974, the island was shut off almost completely for the next 35 years. Nowadays you can visit it in typical Japanese fashion: as part of a guided tour group. Just keep following the yellow umbrella. Or choose the more adventurous option – and do this.
Currently, a non-profit organization is trying to get Hashima listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.