Photo/IllutrationA sample image of the video game featuring mixed reality technologies (Provided by the Gunkanjima Digital Museum)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

NAGASAKI--Offering a virtual glimpse of the abandoned coal-mining island of Hashima, the Gunkanjima Digital Museum opened its new fourth floor on April 20, introducing a video game and other displays using mixed reality technologies.

The new floor was unveiled during a preview for the media and other parties held on April 18 prior to its official opening.

New displays include a re-created set of the “Jigokudan” steps, a sightseeing spot on Hashima, which is nicknamed "Gunkanjima," or Battleship Island. They also include an installation where visitors can explore the island on a large panoramic screen using the digital globe and Google Earth, and a coal mining MR video game.

“We want you to learn about Gunkanjima, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, through cutting-edge technologies while you enjoy them,” said Ryuji Kuon, president of the operating company of the museum. “We want young people, in particular, to take an interest in it and pass down its value as a World Heritage site to future generations.”

MR is a technology to project 3-D images overlaid on real world views. When visitors wear a special goggle-shaped headset, a mascot for the island appears. They can take a tour around the museum with Gunsho-kun while they can play the video game to compete with other visitors for the amount of coal they dig.

According to museum officials, it marks the first time a museum in Japan has introduced MR technologies for their displays.

Online advance reservations are necessary for the MR exhibits, which are intended for junior high school students or older. The fee is 1,000 yen ($9.15), in addition to museum admission.

More information in English is available at the museum website (https://www.gunkanjima-museum.jp/data/en/).