In the school, exercise books and broken abacuses lie in corners where sea winds have blown them.
Sheets of X-rays scatter the floor in the hospital, with faded imprints of miners' lungs still visible.
Children's shoes dot ruined pathways, as though their owners lost them while running to evacuate.
It feels a bit like Pripyat, the town adjoining Chernobyl, where residents really did leave in a hurry after the town's nuclear reactor exploded in 1986.
There are plenty of tales of weirdness surrounding everyday life on the island.
A guide who works at Gunkanjima Concierge, Tomoji Kobata is one of the three tour operators who lead trips to the island.
Although Kobata lived on the island for only a year in 1961, he's full of stories.
From the water, he points out spots where lovers would climb onto the island walls to watch the sunset, seeking out the smallest bit of privacy in a place where privacy was a rarity.
"It reminded me of Hong Kong," he says. "Cooking hours were quite noisy. Wives would borrow seasoning and exchange food they couldn't eat.
"No one would lock the door. There was an old woman called 'watchdog' who checked on everyone who came in and out and would know everyone's business."
Kobata also talks about the darker side of Hashima's past.
Before and during World War II, Hashima, like many industrial sites in Japan, was a location for forced labor.
Korean and Chinese prisoners of war were kept here, enduring varying degrees of hardship.
Conditions in the mines were grueling.
Workers were subjected to heat and humidity with very little to eat and beatings if they slacked.
According to local records, 123 Koreans and 15 Chinese died on the island between 1925 and 1945.
Hashima is one of several industrial sites awaiting inclusion on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. South Korea, however, has formally objected to the island's petition for recognition due to its association with wartime slave laborers.
Former Chinese laborers are still trying to gain compensation and an official apology from Mitsubishi for their enslavement at sites across the empire during World War II.
To Japan's neighbors, the island, in its ruined eeriness, is a symbol of a war wound that won't heal.
To most Japanese, it's a decaying remnant from a forgotten time.