In the latest Bond film, Skyfall, bad guy Raoul Silva chooses as his hide out a deserted island filled with abandoned and partially destroyed buildings, inspired by the real world island of Hashima in Japan. Hashima, known as Gunkanjima (“battleship island”), was once home to 5,000 people, but has been deserted since 1974 after the coal mines on the island were shut down. For the James Bond Hashima scenes, Pinewood studios re-created the island’s ghost town at Pinewood Studios in London, but visitors to Japan can visit this eerie island.
After Hashima was abandoned in 1974, exposure to the elements, including typhoons, drastically deteriorated the buildings on the island. Due to the danger of collapsing structures, the island was closed to the public. In April 2009, however, a newly constructed boat dock made it possible for sightseeing tour boats to land on Hashima. It’s now possible to take a scenic 50-minute boat ride from Nagasaki and alight on Hashima for a 45-minute tour of the island.
Tours of the island can be booked through Hashima Concierge and cost £33, including the return boat journey from Nagasaki city.
This is not the first time Japan has provided the setting for a Bond villain lair. In the 1967 James Bond film, You Only Live Twice, Shinmoedake volcano in Kyushu was used as the underground base of Ernst Blofeld. You Only Live Twice was shot primarily in Japan. Himeji Castle in Hyogo was used for Tanaka's ninja training camp and the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo served as the outside for Osato Chemicals and the hotel's gardens were used for scenes of the ninja training.
InsideJapan Tours offers a 13-night Bond’s Japan Tour Trace that traces the steps of Agent 007 as he chased down SPECTRE along with the Japanese Secret Service Ninja Force in 1967. Discover some of the stunning locations that put Japan on the map with this very special Bond influenced itinerary. The 13-night Bond’s Japan package includes stays at Tokyo’s New Otani hotel AKA SPECTRE’s Osato Chemicals HQ, travel to the castle town of Himeji which was home to the secret Ninja training camp and stay in amongst the mountains and volcano of Kirishima national park which saw Sean Connery’s helicopter pursuit by evil SPECTRE agents. For full details, visit www.insidejapantours.com.
Japan on Film in 2013
Another big screen legend gracing the shores of Japan is Hugh Jackman
. Tokyo is the setting for the new Wolverine
film scheduled to be released in July 2013, in which Wolverine travels to Japan to learn fighting lessons from a samurai warrior. Hugh Jackman has been tweeting photos from the shoot in Japan showing him climbing Mt. Fuji with his son, riding the bullet train, exploring Tokyo’s temples and dinning at famous sushi restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro. To see Hugh Jackman’s Japan photos, visit his Twitter page, @RealHughJackman
“Films can play a powerful role in influencing where people would like to visit on their holidays. Memoirs of a Geisha
and The Last Samurai
inspired moviegoers to want to visit Kyoto and we still have people calling our office asking which hotel Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray’s characters stayed at in Lost in Translation because they want to have cocktails in the bar or even propose there! We hope that James Bond will inspire people to visit Nagasaki and the unique island of Hashima and we can’t wait to see Wolverine in Japan. Later in 2013, one of Japan’s most famous historical tales, 47 Ronin
, will be released as a 3D samurai film starring Keanu Reeves
alongside some of Japan’s biggest actors,” said Kylie Clark, Head of PR & Marketing, Japan National Tourism Organization’s London Office.
For more information about visiting Japan, visit the Japan National Tourism Organization’s website, www.seejapan.co.uk.
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For high-resolution images of Hashima island, Himeji Castle or Hotel New Otani Tokyo, contact Kylie Clark, Japan National Tourism Organization, Head of PR & Marketing, on firstname.lastname@example.org.