Also called Ha-shima, the "battleship island" (after its shape) once had one of the highest population densities in the world, up to 84,100 habitants/km² in the late 50s. It is now completely abandonned, making Gunkan-jima a ghost-city.
At the turn of the 20th century, its coal mines started to be operated. Surrounded by concrete seawalls, the island soon hosted all the facilities needed for the miners and their families, housing, schools, administration buildings… It soon got covered in concrete. When oil replaced coal, the island was deserted, leaving the facilities to decay.
The island is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2015, as part of the "Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining".
Dainichi temple self-mummified monks
Scattered in the North of Japan are about two dozen self-mummified Buddhist monks. Sokushinbutsu were ascetics, followers of an ancient form of Buddhism, shugendô. After three years of a diet made of nuts, seeds and physical activities aiming at getting rid of all body fat, they ate bark and roots only, drinking poisonous tea made from the sap of the urushi tree that’s usually used for lacquerware. This they cleared their bodies of all fluids and maggots that would have otherwise caused decay. Then they locked themselves in a stone tomb, in the lotus position, breathing through a tube and letting the outside world knowing they were still alive by ringing a bell. Until the bell rung no more.
The extraordinary preservation of those mummies, which were not even cleared of their bowels, remains a mystery.
Akihabara’s Clone Factory
In Akihabara, you can find a clone factory. This not about actual living beings or android robots of course but still, you can have a 20-inch doll looking exactly like yourself. A 3D model of your head is first designed and then a tiny version of it is 3D-printed. Then you just have to choose your doll’s body and get your tiny head stuck on it. Then, let’s just hope that you won’t meet this tiny version of yourself in your nightmares.