It came to have more than 8,000 inhabitants, today there are only about 100

Ikeshima, a semi-abandoned Japanese island that has post-apocalyptic landscapes

In the southeast of Japan, in the Nagasaki prefecture and about 6 km from the coast, there is a small island called Ikeshima.

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Initially this island was populated by fishermen, until in 1913 a mining company, Matsushima Tanko, bought land on it after finding an important coal seam there. The exploitation of the deposit was delayed until after the Second World War. In 1952 construction began on the mine, which was finally opened in 1959. It was the beginning of an important mining operation that attracted thousands of workers, the island having more than 7,000 inhabitants in 1970, although some sources speak of up to 20,000, being one of the most densely populated places in the world.

Mining of the Ikeshima coalfield reached its peak in the mid-1980s, but declined thereafter, like other mining sites in Japan. Finally, due to rising production costs and competition from cheaper imported coal, the Ikeshima mine closed on November 28, 2001. The end of mining exploitation caused an exodus of inhabitants on the island. Currently, it is estimated that only about 100 people live there, mostly retired miners who are old and did not want to leave.

If Ikeshima was not totally uninhabited, it is because its last settlers found a source of income in tourism, initially school excursions that went there to visit the old mine, and more recently urban explorers who feel more drawn to its post-apocalyptic landscapes, with abandoned apartment buildings and overgrown vegetation. Indeed, a few days ago the channel Exploring With Josh published a video showing various explorers touring the island:

You can see here some images of the video. In this first screenshot we see several abandoned apartment blocks.

There are many hungry cats on the island. The ones we see here were hanging around a restaurant whose elderly owner went out of business and left the island two weeks before. Cats must continue to wait for the food that was previously available to them.

A traditional Japanese doll in an abandoned flat. It is curious to note that some floors have been left behind as if there had been an evacuation, something that however did not occur in the case of Ikeshima.

The operating room of an abandoned hospital. As most of its inhabitants left, the hospital and schools in Ikeshima gradually closed their doors. However, the island is still connected to the firm via a ferry.

A small train that took workers to the coal mine. In the video they comment that the island was connected by train under the sea with another nearby island, but I have not found any information to confirm this .

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