What is Ikeshima Island
In 1913 Mitsui Mining company bought the area on a small island in Nagasaki for coal mining.
The excavation started in 1959. At that time the mining worker's salary was double of the normal office workers in Japan. The tall apartments were built for the workers. In 1985 the coal production reached its highest point of over 1.5mil tons. There were several accidents in 90s and due to the cheap coal from overseas, the coal mine was shut down in November, 2001. Around 2,500 workers were all let go. The legacy from the good and old time became partly ghost town.
Today around 200 people reside on the island.
The island is called Ikeshima island (池島). It is the last coal mining island in Kyushu area.
Part of the old mine is used as the coal mine training center where around 60 people from Indonesia and Vietnam learn the safety and know-how of mining every year.
The island is a popular tourist spot in Nagasaki. The island provides a tour where you go in the mining tunnel and you can go through the old apartments.
It is not as popular as Gunkan island (Hashima island in the same city as Nagasaki) which is a bit more complicating to get than Ikeshima island. If you are looking for a relaxing and easy tour to a mysterious island, this is great.
As to the tour on the island
If wanting to join the local tour for the coal mine, you need to book it from this website( in Japanese) at latest 3 days in advance.
High school student or older 2680JPY Primary school and Jr High school student 1340JPY
( younger than primary school students(5 years old or younger) are not allowed)
Need to wear sneakers (no sandal or high heels).
There are several tours including island tour. For more details, please ask the tour organizer from this mail form or Tel: +81 95-811-0369
How to get Ikeshima Island
If coming from Tokyo, better stay in Sasebo 1-2 days before you leave for the island.
From Tokyo, 1) you fly from Haneda airport to Nagasaki airport. It is around 6 hours to get Sasebo port( which is 5 mins by taxi from JR Sasebo station ) or 2) you take bullet train and change in Hakata to a local express to Sasebo. It is around 8 hours.
By air or ground, you need to book around 7 hours before you reach the port to get to the island.
Take a ferry from Oseto port (大瀬戸港)
frequency is good. Ferry which can carry cars. Stable way of travelling.
7 times a day starting at 06:40AM from Konoura port. The last ferry is 18:40 departing Ikeshima port. 440JPY for adult and 220JPY for child 30 min trip in total
( Except for High speed ship 590JPY for adult (300JPY for child) 10 min trip
Take a high speed ship from Sasebo port (佐世保港)
Sasebo port is a big port and easy to get. The ship goes only 2 times a day 07:22AM from Sasebo port and the last one is at 16:09 departing Ikeshima port. 1910JPY for adult ( 960JPY for child) around 1 hour trip
Take a boat from Konoura port (神浦港)
It is a boat. Sometimes to be cancelled due to the weather. 7 times a day starting at 06:45AM from Konoura port. The last boat is 17:35 departing Ikeshima port. 350JPY for adult and 150JPY for child 15 min trip in total
( Except for Ferry 410JPY for adult (210JPY for child) 27 min trip and High speed ship 560JPY for adult (290JPY for child) 10min trip
Note: Ship leaves on time. It does not wait for you if you are even several second late! Be on time!
Where to Stay on Ikeshima
There is only one place to stay over night on the island.
Name: Ikeshima Chuo Kaikan ( 池島中央会館 )
How to book: Book by phone +81 959-26-2030 (08:00AM-21:00)
Note: No food provided. There are several types of rooms from two single rooms till the big room for 8-15 people. It is possible to stay with no booking if the room is available on your visit ( But recommend to book in advance!)
We will update you some other options to stay. For example, we have some recommendations for Sasebo city, a very big city with more options of restaurants and bars, famous for Sasebo Burger.
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Source: Wikipedia, Nagasaki city official website
Disclaimer: Even though we try to make the info as updated and accurate but the accuracy of the information herein is not guaranteed by us. If you have any uncertainty, please contact the information source.