There are many situations in life that evoke Bond, James Bond—a precise drink order, a cool new high-tech gadget, a smoothly navigated traffic jam. But all Bond likenesses pale in comparison to the sight of a small island 10 miles off the coast of Japan named Hashima.
One glance at Hashima is enough to conjure images of Javier Bardem’s sneering, blond-haired Skyfall villain who used the industrial ruins as his evil lair. But no criminal masterminds actually live on Hashima. In fact, not a soul has inhabited the island since 1974, when residents were booted from their home, which has come to be known by the nickname Gunkanjima, or “The Battleship Island.” It’s easy to understand the name’s origins: The small piece of land is covered with so many gray structures that it resembles a ship at sea, momentarily marooned in the choppy blue East China Sea.
Today, visits to the island are tightly regulated, but it is possible to visit the imposing, sinister outpost that was once key to Japan’s industrial might. And, indeed, the foreboding, craggy island actually appears in the latest Bond installment, though it was deemed too dangerous to actually film on.