Dark Tourist (2018) s01e02 Episode Script

Japan

[alarm on] My name is David Farrier.
[alarm on] I'm a journalist from New Zealand, and I'm investigating dark tourist hotspots around the world.
This time, I'm traveling in Japan.
[group screaming and running] [narrator] Dark tourism can be hazardous, so what better way to start my trip than a disaster training course? The quake starts Quite intense.
But I'm not really sure this is going to prepare me for what's to come.
As I visit the world's most popular suicide spot - [David] There's something on that tree.
- [jake] That's not good.
[dance music] I step into a bizarre future run entirely by robots [robot speaking] Please enjoy your stay in Henn na Hotel.
[narrator] explore a ten-story ghost island This is amazing.
and I indulge in a spot of nuclear tourism.
- So what are you seeing here? - [Anya] Oh, my God.
The level of radiation is higher than around Chernobyl, where no one is allowed to go.
Life can be dangerous when you're a dark tourist.
[series music] [narrator] I start my trip at the center of one of Japan's worst disasters.
The atomic meltdown in the province of Fukushima.
Nuclear tourism.
Who would have thought it would be a thing? Most normal people wouldn't go near a radioactive nuclear site, but it sounds perfect for a dark tourist and I'm in a bus full of them.
[earthquake trembling noise] [narrator] In 2011, this province was devastated [movement of wave] by a massive earthquake and then a tsunami, which caused an explosion and radiation leak at the Daiichi nuclear power station.
[movement of waves] Over 20,000 people were killed.
Much more of the province was evacuated because of the radiation.
Until now, this has been a restricted area, but the government says it's now okay for residents to return.
I had to come and see for myself what a nuclear disaster looks like.
Is it even safe to be here? [Yo, ] Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am your tourist guide.
[narrator] Our guide for the day is Yo.
So I have to be careful with my right and left because to you it's switched.
So I have to say, "On your right," and, "On your left.
" [Yo laughing] [narrator] It seems like just another walk in the radioactive park for Yo.
He certainly doesn't seem concerned about any danger.
What are the levels you'd be concerned about, Yo? So for living in the area [geiger beeping] 0.
20 worries me.
[continuous beeping] [David] Okay.
It's funny.
It's very hard.
Because you're such a happy person, it's very hard to know, for me and for us, how dangerous it is.
I'm not growing extra horns or extra fingers.
[passengers laughing] [narrator] My fellow dark tourists include a group of equally fascinated foreigners.
[Anya] I heard that vitamin D helps offset the effects of radiation.
Keeping yourself safe any way you can.
Yeah.
[narrator] Our first stop on the disaster tour is the town of Tomioka.
The tsunami didn't get this far, but the town did get hit by the 'quake and then the radioactive cloud.
[Yo] Okay, let's get off the bus.
[narrator] This is one of the towns the government says is safe, but the residents don't seem keen on returning.
In fact, it's still completely abandoned.
- [David] There's not a lot of people here.
- Yeah.
[David] Pretty quiet.
[narrator] I'm surprised that thieves haven't looted the place.
Maybe they know something we don't.
[geiger beeping] [Anya] Oh, my God! - [Anya] 0.
7.
- [David] We're going up.
0.
72.
[narrator] We've all brought our own Geiger counters, the equivalent of metal detectors for radiation.
Suddenly, they all start pinging off.
The radiation here is way higher than anything I was warned about and immediately the nuclear tourists are concerned.
[Anya] You told us before that the level of radiation at which you'd start being worried is 0.
2.
My Geiger meter is showing 0.
75.
That's higher than around Chernobyl, where no one is allowed to go.
How do you tell people that it's okay to come here when it's such a high level? Because they had declared state of emergency, that means they can raise the maximum amount of radiation allowed.
And they want to make the appearance of being safe here.
[tourist] But it's not.
- You can find it yourself.
- But - [tourist girl] In how many years? - In how many years, yeah.
It will probably take more than 200 years to bring everything back to normal, so to say.
- [tourist girl] 200? - 200.
[narrator] Suddenly, nuclear tourism doesn't seem like such a great idea.
It's a little unsettling when this thing starts beeping more and more, especially when you're seeing stores with broken shop fronts and everything.
And some little kids' bikes inside.
It's pretty eerie.
I can see why it's hard to get people to move back, you know? [narrator] And it gets better.
Yo tells us the dust is particularly radioactive.
He warns breathing it in could give us cancer.
I'm not sure this is the kind of thrill these dark tourists were hoping for.
I notice you've got your mask on now.
[tourist] Well, it's so dusty in here.
You're making me think I should put one on as well.
- I sort of forgot we had them.
- [tourist] Well, they are available, so [sighs] - [tourist girl] You have to open it.
- I've got to open it up? Oh, I see.
Never had to put one on before.
[Yo speaking] It's just really dusty in here.
I figured it was a good time to put it on.
But, as you can see, it fogs up my glasses, so now I can't see anything.
Got a real fog problem.
[narrator] We head out of Tomioka along Route Six, into the heart of the nuclear disaster.
We are passing through areas which still remain part of the feared radioactive exclusion zone, though, in a cunning act of rebranding, the government now prefers to call it the "difficult to return to" zone.
- [Yo] This is a gate street.
- [David] Gates on every entrance.
[Yo] Look at those gates.
[narrator] There are barriers blocking entrances to any possible way into the no go zone.
This is now looking more like a military zone and the bus isn't even allowed to stop here.
But Yo is prepared to try and get us in.
[Yo speaking Japanese] [Japanese guard] This is a "difficult to return to" zone.
Go back to the bus.
This area is closed, except for vehicles.
You need to leave quickly.
What's the problem? This is the area that's designated as the "no returning" area.
So we're not supposed to park around here and let the people out.
- Okay.
- [Yo] Only passing through.
How long have you worked here for? - [Guard] Five years.
- Five years? You enjoy your job? [guard] Hurry up and leave already.
Okay.
[narrator] If job satisfaction comes from getting rid of people like us, he should be a happy man.
But I still want to look inside the forbidden zone, so I convince Yo to let me out on the side of the road for a sneaky peek.
[Yo] No more than five minutes if possible.
[Yo] Get ready.
- [Yo] Okay, go.
- [tourist] Go, David.
[Anya] Go, David.
[tourist] Now.
[geiger continuous beeping] [narrator] The amusement arcade has been left untouched since the 'quake.
[David] It's pretty eerie just seeing these toys just lying down, just kind of done.
[David] Let's try upstairs.
Let's try looking through [geiger continous beeping] [David] Wow! [David] This is totally wrecked.
[geiger beeping] There's a lot of dust in here, which is unsettling.
[narrator] Unsettling is an understatement.
The objects and dust in here are especially radioactive as rain and wind can't get in to wash any radioactive particles away.
[David] We've already been warned once, so I don't particularly want them to see us in here.
[geiger beeping] [David] Watch the glass, guys.
[narrator] But we've pushed our luck too far.
[David] We don't speak Japanese.
[guards speaking] - [guard] Passport? ID? - [David] In the bus.
- [guards speaking] - [narrator] We're sprung.
But Yo comes to our rescue and tries to smooth things over.
- [Yo] So what is going on here, sir? - [guard] You are not allowed - [Yo] I understand we can't stop here.
- [guard] Yes, you got it, sir.
[geiger beeping] [narrator] After what seems like an eternity, and a stern warning, we are sent on our way, but Yo's not happy with my excursion.
[David] Is there a risk of getting arrested, do you think? Just now? We were lucky.
[Yo] I say.
[David] Okay.
- [David ]All right.
Thanks, Yo.
- [Yo] Sure.
[narrator] I'm beginning to feel bad that Yo had to bail us out.
To be honest, this tour is more stressful than I thought it would be.
Lunch comes as a welcome break.
We stop in Namie at a cafe called Grandma's, which is run, unsurprisingly, by grandmas.
- [waitress] Konnichiwa.
- [David] Arigato.
[narrator] It's part of the government initiative to lure people back into town.
But when I find out that none of the grandmas live here, something doesn't sit right.
[David] Who's eating? Do we all want to eat? - What is the food, though? Where is - How safe is it? [narrator] I love Japanese food, but like the others, I'm nervous about eating anything that comes from around here.
- Have you eaten here before, Yo? - No.
- First time.
- First time.
[people speaking japanese] - [David] Yo? - Yes? Is all this food from this area? So it's all grown locally? - I have no idea, actually.
- [David] No idea? - It's difficult to know about everything? - Well, I'm not going to worry about it.
[Yo laughing] [narrator] But we're starving and we give in.
- [passengers talking] - It may be radioactive but it's delicious.
[passengers talking to each other] Yo, do you ever worry about anything? It seems like you don't worry, ever.
We have to live in this country.
I have to live here day to day.
And worrying about it too much is really not good for your mental health.
- [David ]Hm.
- [Yo] Yeap.
Life is full of dangers.
That's the thing, right? - You might get hit by a bus tomorrow.
- [Yo] That's right.
[tourist] Ah! - [squeaking of balloons] - [David] Ugh! [narrator] The government have even hired street performers to attract people back to the area and I'm quickly roped in to help.
I have no idea what's going on.
[David] Wow! [Street performer speaking Japanese] See? There's nothing to worry about here.
How can you worry when this is going on? Does it suit me? [japanese woman laughing] Boink! [narrator] After lunch, we hit the coast, to where the giant tsunami wave first came ashore.
This was once a landscape of little towns, full of people, but all that has been wiped away and is now a wasteland.
So where are we now, Yo? What's the situation here? This is the tsunami-inundated area.
So this is where the tsunami swept across? [Yo] Tsunami stripped the whole town.
[Yo] When the tsunami overcame the sea wall, it was 15 meters high.
[Yo] And about 260 people died in this area.
[narrator] I can't comprehend what a 15-meter wall of water looks like or where I'd run to.
The people here would have had no chance.
This is all that's left of homes, shops, lives.
Just reduced to rubble and ruin.
[David] It's pretty surreal seeing just personal items all just dumped, essentially, to rot.
[David] It does bring it all home.
[narrator] The only objects heavy enough to stand their ground were gravestones, mute testament to all the people who lived and died here.
I find the place profoundly sad.
But not everyone has the same reaction.
[japanese speaking] [tourist] Okay, not even [tourist] The radio reactor just exploded.
- [tourist 1]Your face should explode, too.
- [tourist] I don't know what that means.
[tourist 1 laughing] Be masculine! - [David] You got good photos in there? - We have good selfie, I think.
I could have pulled my second look, but it's fine.
- I can live without it.
- [tourist 1] Paris Fashion Week.
We can laugh a little bit, but I think it's pretty serious.
- Do you? - Yeah.
No, I completely agree.
It's a thing you kind of laugh to cover up your nerves sometimes.
[Anya] Yeah.
[narrator] Earthquake, tsunami and then, finally, radiation.
A nuclear disaster is the unwanted gift that keeps on giving.
And here lies the motherlode.
Under the green tarp, there's piles of those flexible container bags.
[Yo] They contain the low-level radioactive soil or the plants.
[narrator] The government scraped off the radioactive topsoil and stored it, "temporarily".
These dirt dumps are all over the province.
It seems unbelievable that there are more than nine million bags of this stuff just lying around.
I just wonder what the hell they are going to do with it all.
[Anya] So how long can this concoction survive? - [Yo] Two to three years.
- Yeah.
[Yo] As you can see, some black bags are kind of deteriorating.
[Anya] So they're probably covering it to hide the fact that it's deteriorating.
[Yo] That was probably so.
[narrator] They were designed to last three years, but that was six years ago.
Their order and precision is beautiful and, dare I say it, a nice Instagram post, but that doesn't change the fact that the radioactive soil is still here.
[geiger beeping] I wouldn't want my adult children, who haven't had their families yet, to come here.
My daughters.
'Cause there is that thing about what sex you are.
I feel like there's probably more danger for females to come in than males.
[tourist lady] Right.
[geiger continuously beeping] [narrator] As we drive, the scale of this shit-show starts to dawn on me.
Town after town is like this.
Wrecked radioactive abandoned.
This point, this is designated as "difficult to return to" zone.
[Yo] That means you need to have a special permit to go through this area.
- [geiger beeping] - [narrator] No one's really listening now.
Instead, everyone is focused on their Geiger counters.
So what are you seeing here? I'm going up to 1.
43 now.
- [geiger beeping] - 1,55.
- 1.
89.
- What the hell! That's a lot.
Yeah.
It's going up.
Yeah, I'm not sure if it is higher than Chernobyl.
Is it? [geiger beeping continuously] [Anya] Basically, I looked at Safecast and it has the whole area's map.
[Anya] And it was saying the highest we'd get here is about 0.
4.
But this is four times the amount of that.
[geiger beeping] So I'm actually very, very uncomfortable with the situation.
[geiger beeping continuously] - [geiger beeping] - And I'm not sure this is safe.
[geiger beeping] [narrator] I'm starting to worry as well.
[David] Is everyone happy to keep going? If that was honestly the highest it was going to be, then I'm fine, but, you know, I take this stuff really seriously as well.
[narrator] The truth is, Anya's just said aloud what's going through everyone's minds.
We're all paranoid about the radiation, especially as Yo told us anything over 0.
2 was unsafe.
[David] Here we go.
[David] 1.
9.
- [Anya] 2.
3.
- 2.
8.
[geiger beeping continuously] [narrator] The levels keep rising.
Everyone is seriously on edge.
[geiger beeping] [narrator] No one was expecting readings this high, not even our own crew.
So what we just experienced wasn't even the highest? No.
- So that wasn't a hotspot? - No.
You know that.
I'll stay on the bus! [narrator] Even the bus doesn't feel like a shield any more, and the levels continue to get higher.
- Oh, my God.
1.
87.
- [Anya] Oh, my God! - [tourist lady] 3.
75.
- Oh, my God.
- [Anya] 7.
19.
- [tourist lady] Oh, my God.
[narrator] The readings are fifty times over the 0.
2 threshold.
I don't want to stay another minute here, and I'm not alone.
- [Anya] I have 9.
71 now.
- Scare point.
- [tourist lady] All right.
- [tourist ]We are scared.
- [Anya] We have officially been scared.
- [David] Yeah.
- [Anya] Let's go.
- Let's do that.
- [Anya] All in favor? - [David] Okay, who wants to go? - [many tourists] I'd like to go.
- [Yo] Okay, let's go.
[tourists talking] The driver just turned off the engine! It's just not the place to break down.
[geiger beeping] [narrator] By unanimous decision, this tour is over.
They say it's safe to return to Fukushima, and good luck to anyone that does, but this place is still way too radioactive for my liking.
It's been a real buzz seeing a nuclear wasteland first hand, and I can see why dark tourists get a thrill out of it, but one tour is enough for me.
I want to get as far away from the disaster zone as possible.
My hotel isn't known for its comfy beds or creature comforts, but follows the post-apocalyptic theme by offering a glimpse into a strange, alternate future, a future run entirely by robots.
It's probably at the odd end of the dark tourist spectrum.
[David] Hello.
[machine sound] [robot] Please hold up your passport to the reader or touch "no passport" if you don't have one.
[narrator] As a card-carrying member of the Jurassic Park fan club, being served by a velociraptor is pretty damn cool.
[robot] Please enjoy your stay in Henn na Hotel.
[David] Thank you.
[narrator] The hotel promises me a highlight of my stay will be my own personal robot.
[personal robot] Relax and make yourself at home.
Hello.
[personal robot] Oh.
Hi, there.
How do you do? Really good.
[David] Can you sing a song? Just [robot] What time are you going to wake up? Seven a.
m.
But back to the original question, can you sing a song? [robot] Yes.
May I help you? Yes.
Can you sing a song? [robot] Tomorrow's set an alarm clock at eight-thirty.
[narrator] Things get even more bizarre when I realize my robot hotel is set smack in the middle of a replica 17th-century Dutch town.
Yes, still in Japan.
[dance music] [narrator] It's definitely weird, and kind of fun, [music continous] [narrator] but why is everyone wearing a mask? [dance music continous] [narrator] It's a wonderfully twisted time warp.
21st-century virtual reality on a 17th-century carousel.
I'm not sure if I'm meant to be in the past or the future or perhaps just a parallel universe? [personal robot] Turn the lights off.
Is that a question or a statement? [machine sound] [robot] May I help you? [David] Thank you.
[robot singing lullaby] [David] Shut up.
[narrator] I leave the robot hotel and travel to my next destination.
[wind blowing] [narrator] Jukai forest nestles on the northwestern slopes of Mount Fuji.
It's a stunningly beautiful and primeval place, but the forest is also famous for a darker reason.
It's the world's most popular place to commit suicide.
Authorities find over 100 bodies here a year.
And while most people come here for the postcard scenics and serenity, an increasing number of dark tourists are drawn here by the body count.
I want to see what's so special about the forest and why tourists are drawn to such a morbid place.
I needed someone to show me around, so I called again on the unflappable Yo.
What I hear from the statistics is that Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in industrialised nations.
[David] Why do you think that is? I guess it's a lot of social pressure, the obligations, and things like that.
Honor, maybe.
We've been thinking about people drawn to places because they are a bit darker that's why we're interested.
Jukai was made famous for that because of a novel.
[narrator] Yo says Jukai became a popular suicide spot because of the popularity of a book from the 1960s, The Black Sea of Trees, a sort of Japanese Romeo and Juliet, and we all know how that ended.
Immediately, I spot a lone car in a corner of a car park.
According to Yo, it's been sitting here, abandoned, for weeks.
Already my mind is jumping to conclusions.
So one car in the car park.
[David] This could be someone who's wandered in and hasn't come back.
[Yo] Could be.
- [Yo] And nothing to prove that.
- [David] No.
Just don't know.
It's surreal, though, the idea of something being left here.
[Yo] Yeah.
Maybe he decided to leave somewhere else.
[Yo] Maybe he's living happily at someplace else.
[narrator] Yo is keen to play down the forest's association with suicide, but the signs suggest otherwise.
"Your life is something you received from your parents.
Think again.
Think about your parents, your brothers.
Think about your children.
And don't take your problems all to yourself.
" [narrator] I soon spot some fellow dark travelers loitering in the car park.
Are these pale foreigners here for the same reason I am? We're here just looking into the whole idea of this being a suicide forest.
- Is that why you came? - Yeah.
Right.
What had you heard about it? We heard on videos and YouTube and whatnot that it's a place where a lot of people come and contemplate suicide.
An interesting place to come and check out.
What was the motivation? That's why I came as well.
I can't actually decide if I'm here because I want to see like a body or I'm just curious about the area.
I mean, what motivated you? I like the atmosphere.
It's a really sort of creepy, almost isolated vibe.
Then if we look into the forest, you can see the ropes that people drag in with them.
We didn't actually see any bodies.
- This is my first time out of Ontario.
- [David] Seriously? [David] So first time out of Ontario, straight to suicide forest.
Yeah! Pretty much, yeah.
No kidding.
It sounds bad when you say it that way.
- [David] It does, doesn't it? - Yeah! [narrator] I want to go for a walk in the forest, but Yo has an unusual briefing.
[Yo] So there are a couple of things you need to know or you should know.
There may be something other than us lurking around, looking at us right now.
But it can be seen only with higher perception.
[Yo] If you feel or see something, [Yo] don't freak out.
[Yo] Okay? They're just curious.
[narrator] Strangely, Yo seems more worried about the spirits I might encounter than he did about the radiation.
At least I could measure the radiation.
This is truly a beautiful place, but it's deadly silent and empty.
The forest is also incredibly dense.
Stray off the path and you could easily get lost in here.
I'm nervous about what I might stumble across.
[crows croaking] [narrator] I've arranged to meet Jake, an American expat who runs a nearby cafe.
He says he found a corpse here just last year.
[Jake] It was a little pile of bones and a skirt, like a Japanese schoolgirl.
The blue uniform.
It had been there a while.
[Jake] And my dog sensed something was up.
[Jake] I don't know how she knew, but I just followed her out.
[David] Really lucky you had the dog.
Yeah, you wouldn't want to get stuck in here at night.
[David] 'Cause that's the other danger here.
[David] People come in here to explore because they've heard about it and then they end up Yeah.
When you see a body out here, you've got to wonder if it was somebody who'd meant to kill themselves or changed their mind and didn't make it out.
[narrator] Jake believes he can find some evidence of what goes on here, but then things take a funny turn.
[Jake] You don't feel that? You don't feel a little winded? [Jake] When you run and you're just a little low on oxygen, [Jake] your vision's just a little bit dark.
- It's a bit of a spacey feeling almost.
- [Jake] Yeah, it's that, but I've had it, at times when it's really it's like tunnel vision.
And you can't quite focus on anything.
I don't feel dizzy, I don't have tunnel vision, like you have.
That hit you pretty much immediately when you got in here.
It's really subtle.
[David introspecting] It's not quite tunnel vision, but it's I think it's the magnetism.
You know? [birds tweeting] But it's just enough.
That's what's dangerous about it.
It's just enough that it's there, but you don't really notice it.
[Jake] That's how most people get in trouble in the forest.
There is a [Jake] You think you're okay.
- [David] But you're not.
- [Jake] Yeah.
[narrator] I don't know what to think.
Everyone seems to be telling me about invisible forces and spirits.
I'm starting to feel like I'm missing something important.
[Jake] Look at this.
[narrator] And then Jake spots what we've been searching for.
[branches cracking] - [David] There's something on that tree.
- [Jake] That's not good.
[crows croaking] [narrator] He says it's the remains of a makeshift noose.
[birds tweeting] [crows croaking] [narrator] Looking at the rope, I'm glad it's all I've found.
[Jake] In and out without seeing any bodies, that's a good thing.
[crows croaking] [narrator] I wonder what would drive someone to end their life in this beautiful place? Yo suggests I meet his friend Noriko.
She came here 30 years ago intending to kill herself after a fight with her boyfriend.
She wanted to take her life in an isolated part of the forest by a small cave, hoping her boyfriend would feel sorry when he saw the body.
[Noriko] But as I started walking in, I had another voice telling me to stop.
A man was standing over there.
[Noriko] Then I realized that he wasn't human.
So I ran away.
[narrator] Noriko says she saw a ghost who warned her not to take her life.
She insists I go through a ritual to ward off any bad spirits or YÅ«rei as they're called here, that might still be lurking.
I don't know that I believe in any of it, but I agree to go along anyway.
[Yo] You've got to pinch the salt using three fingers.
- [Noriko] No.
- [Yo] Eat it first.
- [Noriko speaking] - [Yo] Take a swig, all the way.
- [Noriko speaking] - [Yo] Don't let your hand drop.
- [Yo] Drink.
- [Noriko speaking] [Noriko] Okay.
[narrator] I'm keen to go further into the forest, but Noriko starts acting strange.
[Noriko laughing] [Noriko sighs] [David] We can turn around if you want to.
[David] We can turn around if you need to.
[Noriko mumbling] Is she okay? Just tired? Tired, no.
[Noriko speaking indistinctly] - [Noriko in pain] - [David] Where are you sore? In here? [narrator] Noriko says the invisible Yūrei are attacking her.
I feel awkward and don't quite know what to do.
[Noriko sighs] Thank you.
- [David] No good? - No, thank you.
Good.
Thank you.
- [David] Was it the energy down there? - Something's happening down there that's affecting her this way.
And those are things that we wouldn't feel, but you do? They are here.
They are here.
[Yo speaking japanese] Even if I drink the salt, they still come for me.
[Noriko] How should I describe it? It is as if they are trying to take me.
Am I safe being here? I've had the salt, but am I okay being here? Yes, no problem.
Everyone is fine.
Everyone except me.
[birds tweeting] That's the Jukai.
[birds tweeting] [narrator] I don't believe in ghosts, but everyone here seems to genuinely feel their presence.
I'm not going to argue.
If Noriko's beliefs stopped her from taking her own life, then that's a good thing.
And after seeing the forest for myself, and meeting Noriko, I've decided there's nothing romantic about looking for dead bodies or the idea of suicide.
I don't think Jukai is haunted or cursed, but the forest certainly does live up to its reputation as a strange and eerie place to visit.
I travel a thousand kilometers west.
My final destination is a short boat ride off the coast of Nagasaki.
It's the ultimate ghost town.
[sound of sea hitting the shore] [David] Oh, wow.
[David] You can see the whole structure going down to the water.
[David] It's unreal.
[narrator] Abandoned places are like magnets for dark tourists, especially if they are as haunting and spectacular as Hashima Island.
Hashima is also called Battleship Island because of its distinctive shape.
Sixty years ago, this was the most densely-populated place on the planet.
Five and a half thousand people lived here, crammed into an area the size of a few football fields.
Now it's completely empty.
I want to know what happened.
I arranged to meet two former residents to find out.
[David] Hi, nice to meet you.
- [Ishikawa-san] Hi.
- [Kenoshita-san] Nice to meet you.
[narrator] Ishikawa-san and Kenoshita-san lived here in its heyday.
They offer me special access to the crumbling buildings on the island.
[David] So do you know exactly where we're going? [Kenoshita speaking japanese] [Ishikawa] We're going up to the ninth floor now.
[David] All right.
A lot of walking! [David] Well, I'm game if you are.
[narrator] There were no elevators in this place.
I wonder what it was like walking up and down nine floors several times a day.
And the ceilings are very low.
[Ishikawa] Watch your head there.
- [David] All right.
- [Ishikawa] So wet.
[narrator] It looks like everyone left in a hurry.
There's stuff everywhere.
[David] It's a real mess.
This is my room, my house.
- [noise of ruins cracking] - [David sighs] [noise of ruins cracking] [David] Where are we standing now? It's so small.
[David] How many of you lived in here? My family and I, the six of us lived here.
It was very crowded.
We used to sleep in the closet, right here.
[David] Was it a place that people wanted to live? Out here? Was it somewhere quite exciting to be? [Ishikawa] For us, this is where we were born.
It was the norm for us and I didn't know anywhere else.
[narrator] In fact, Hashima was the first of its kind.
Japan's first concrete apartment complex.
And it offered a better standard of living compared to the rest of the country.
There were shops, sports facilities, a public swimming pool and a school.
Hashima is here because there's a coal mine underneath the island.
They built the town right on top.
The men say the mine became uneconomic in the late 1970s and everyone left in the space of a week.
- [Ishikawa] This is where we played a lot.
- [Kenoshita laughing] [narrator] They take me to the highest point on the island, to a Shinto temple they used to visit.
[Ishikawa] Ah! Fifty years.
I haven't been up to this temple for 50 years.
Very nostalgic.
I thought it would be larger.
[narrator] It's inspiring up here and I feel moved to join in.
- [Ishikawa] There's nothing here! - [Kenoshita laughing] This brings back memories.
- [ japanese laughing ] - [David] What is the clap? [translator] It's two bows, two claps, and then another bow.
- Okay, so two bows - [translator] Two.
- two claps and then another bow.
- [Ishikawa] Okay.
[Japanese laughing] [David] This is amazing.
You can see the whole place from up here.
It's incredible.
[sound of sea hitting the shore] [narrator] This island is absolutely epic.
It's haunting to be in a place that was once home to so many, but is now completely desolate.
All that remains are memories and ghosts of the past.
[sound of plane taking off] [narrator] On this trip, I've flirted with radiation, desolation and death.
I've been forced out of my comfort zone and had my beliefs challenged.
And somehow it's made me feel even more happy to be alive.
Maybe that's the whole point of dark tourism.