It is called Hashima Island and it is located a few miles from Nagasaki, Japan. This island was the inspiration for the setting of “Skyfall,” released at the end of 2012. James Bond fans who want to experience the mystical atmosphere of the island that was inhabited by the evil Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem) can now tour this strange piece of land via Google Street View.
Previously a major mining site, Hashima became a ghost town once Japan’s energy consumption switched to petrol; the last dwellers got off the island in the mid-seventies. Like much of Japan Hashima is also on the path of tropical cyclones.
In 2009, the first tourists were allowed back after rehabilitation work began. According to the Wiki, “the island is increasingly gaining international attention not only generally for its modern regional heritage, but also for the undisturbed housing complex remnants representative of the period from the Taishō period to the Shōwa period. It has become the frequent subject of discussion among enthusiasts for ruins.”
For safety reasons (due to the number of unstable buildings still standing), Sam Mendes, who directed “Skyfall,” could not shoot anything on the island which inspired the scenery in the movies. He resorted to recreating the scenes in which James Bond is held captive by the Machiavellian Raoul Silva on a sound stage in the U.K.
Recently, Google Street View team obtained a license to explore the mysterious island. Equipped with a 360 degree-shoulder-held camera our unusual visitor traveled the island, now overrun by vegetation and covered by the ruins of the buildings in which the miners were housed.
As you will see in the video below Hashima, part-apocalypse, part-Alcatraz, takes on a kind of end-of-the-world charm (if you like that sort of thing).