Lighthouses of China: Qingdao and Rizhao (Southern Shandong)

Shandong (formerly spelled Shantung) is a province of northern China lying directly across the Yellow Sea from South Korea. The province includes the Shandong Peninsula (Shandong Bandao), which separates the Yellow Sea from the Bohai Gulf. This page includes lighthouses of the province's southern coast, facing the Yellow Sea, in the prefectures of Qingdao and Rizhao.

Because of its strategic location and fine ports, the Shandong Peninsula was a target for foreign penetration during the colonial period. Qingdao, the major port on this coast, was a German colony from 1897 to 1914. The entire province was occupied by Japan during World War II (1938-1945).

The Chinese word for a lighthouse is dēngtǎ (灯塔). Lighthouses in China are maintained by the PRC Maritime Safety Administration. The administration is organized in four regional administrations; Shandong lighthouses fall under the Tianjin MSA.

The pinyin system for transliterating Chinese into Latin characters is now the international standard, but some locations continue to be known also under the spellings of older transliteration systems. The Chinese word for a lighthouse is dēngtǎ (灯塔). Jiao or chiao is a cape, dao, tao, yu, or hsu is an island, wan is a bay, and kang or gang is a harbor.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. CN numbers are Chinese light list numbers. Admiralty numbers are from volume F of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
MSA Aids to Navigation - Lighthouse
Two pages of photos of prominent Chinese lighthouses.
Lighthouse Appreciation
Posted by the Wenzhou MSA office in Zhejiang Province, this portfolio of photos includes several Shandong lighthouses.
Region 9 NGA Nautical Charts
Chart 94290 covers this area.
Lighthouses/Phares - China
Historic postcard images posted by Michel Forand.
Leuchttürme Chinas auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
China AMS Topographic Maps
A fine collection of U.S. Army Map Service maps of China, in English, posted by the University of Texas Library.

Xiaoqingdao Light
Xiaoqingdao (Little Qingdao) Light, Qingdao, October 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by felibrilu

Qingdao Prefecture Lighthouses

Note: China ceded the important port of Qingdao (Tsingtao) to Germany in 1897. The Germans established a major naval base and remained in control of the city until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. The city was occupied by Japanese forces in 1914-22 and 1938-45. Today it has a population of nearly 5 million and is one of China's most important ports.
Yellow Sea Island Lighthouses
Qianliyan (Qianli Yan, Surveyor Island) (2)
1979 (station established 1953) . Active; focal plane 84 m (276 ft); white flash every 15 s. 15 m (49 ft) round stone tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. The Anhua New Energy Company has a photo showing the lighthouse with wind turbines installed in 2004 as its power source. A photo is available (a little more than halfway down the page), and the MSA has a distant view, but Google has only a distant satellite view. This is one of the most remote Chinese lighthouses. Qianliyan is a small, rather barren island far out in the Yellow Sea, about 40 km (25 mi) offshore and 100 km (60 mi) east northeast of Qingdao. There is a small naval station on the island. Ecotours are sometimes available. Located on the highest point of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS PRC-051; CN-1629; Admiralty F3856; NGA 18660.
Chaoliandao (Chaolian Dao, Talientao)
1903 (German). Active; focal plane 80 m (262 ft); white flash every 10 s. 13 m (42 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story stone keeper's house. The lighthouse is listed as white, but it appears to be unpainted stone in MSA's photo at right. Fog horn (3 blasts every 90 s). An MSA photo is at right, MSA also has a distant view, another distant view is available, but Google has only a distant satellite view. The Qingdao News has an article with photos of recent restoration work at the lighthouse. Lantern painted black. Reportedly rebuilt in 1940, but in its design the lighthouse appears to be the original. The lighthouse was also renovated in 1993. Chaoliandao is an island about 30 km (19 mi) southeast of Laoshantou. Located on the highest point of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PRC-014; CN-1653; Admiralty F3814; NGA 18668.

Jimo City Lighthouses
Malong Dao
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) round concrete tower colored with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located atop a small island at the western entrance to Hengmen Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-1625.02; Admiralty F3856.13.
Nu Dao
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 78 m (256 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 10 m (33 ft) tower, apparently attached to a small equipment shelter. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on an island at the eastern entrance to Aoshan Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-1625.501; Admiralty F3856.06.
Chaoliandao Light
Chaoliandao Light, East China Sea
PRC Maritime Safety Administration photo

Laoshan District Lighthouse
Ma'erdao (Ma'er Dao)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 69 m (226 ft); white flash every 4 s. 8 m (26 ft) white concrete tower. Caoshan Li's photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island about 20 km (13 mi) northeast of the Laoshantou lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3850.9.
Laoshantou (Laoshan Tou) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1954). Active; focal plane 116 m (381 ft); white flash every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a prominent cape at the southeast corner of the Laoshan Peninsula, about 40 km (25 mi) east northeast of Qingdao. This remote area is not accessible by road, but the lighthouse can be reached by a hiking trail. Site and tower closed. CN-1632; Admiralty F3850.6; NGA 18664.
Tuoloudao (Tuolou Dao)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white light, 2 s on, 8 s off. White round stone tower, height unknown. No photo available, and the light is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located on a tiny island just offshore about 50 km (30 mi) east of Qingdao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3850.5; NGA 18666.
Xiaogongdao (Xiaogong Dao) (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 5 m (17 ft) (?) round stone tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. In the satellite image, the tower definitely looks taller than its listed height. Located on a small island about 25 km (15 mi) southeast of Qingdao and 15 km (9 mi) northeast of Dagongdao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-1656; Admiralty F3816; NGA 18670.
Dagongdao (Dagong Dao, Takungtao, Grand Island) (2?)
1996 (station established 1908). Active; focal plane 131 m (430 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round tapered fiberglass tower, painted white. No photo available, and the tower has not been found in Bing's satellite view of Dagongdao. Located on a small island about 18 km (11 mi) southeast of Qingdao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PRC-018; CN-1657; Admiralty F3818; NGA 18672.
Laoshantou Light
Laoshantou Light, Laoshan, June 2010
Panoramio photo copyright 蔡善礼; permission requested

Qingdao City Lighthouses
* Qingdao International (Olympic) Marina
2006. Presumably active, but no data is available. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern dome black. Bruno de Regge has a closeup photo, another closeup is available, and Google has a satellite view. Qingdao was the site of the sailing competitions of the 2008 Olympics. The venue was the Qingdao International Marina, constructed in 2005-06 on the site of the former Beihai Shipyard on the south (ocean) side of Qingdao. The lighthouse is at the end of the outer breakwater pier of the marina. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed.
* Lightship Dagu (Taku)
1911. Decommissioned 1978. 25 m (82 ft) steel lightship with the light displayed from a lantern atop a mast amidships. Entire vessel painted red. This lightship was stationed for its entire career on a shoal outside the entrance to Tianjin, Hebei. Replaced by a lighthouse in 1978, it was trasferred in 1981 to Qingdao, probably to the Zhongsha Jiao station (see below). A photo of the ship before its restoration is available. Restored on its 100th anniversary, the ship is displayed on land at a new lighthouse museum near the Xiaoqingdao lighthouse. As far as I know, this is the only restored Chinese lightship. Site open, vessel status unknown.
* Xiaoqingdao (Little Qingdao, Tsingtao, Arcona Island) (3?)
Date unknown (station established 1898) (German). Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); red flash every 6.5 s. 15 m (49 ft) two-stage tower with lantern and gallery; the lower stage is an octagonal stone tower and the upper stage is a round cast iron tower. Entire lighthouse painted white. A photo is at the top of this page, Chris Drum has a closeup photo, Erica Kulet also has a photo, Forand has a historic postcard view, Huelse has a second postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. We need information on the history of this important station. Forand also has a postcard view showing the original lighthouse; it depicts an octagonal stone tower about 15 m (49 ft) tall. This lighthouse appears in a distant view of the harbor posted by the German edition of Wikipedia. By 1920 the first lighthouse had been replaced by a cast iron skeletal tower. The present lighthouse was in place before World War II. Located on the small island of Xiaoqingdao off the south coast of Qingdao city, about 3 km (2 mi) east of the Tuandao lighthouse. The island, now a popular park, is connected to shore by the 440 m (0.27 mi) long Zhanqiao bridge, built by German engineers in 1892 as a naval pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PRC-065; CN-1663; Admiralty F3826; NGA 18688.
* Tuandao Wan (Friendship Pier) (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 16 m (52 ft); green light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round fiberglass tower colored with green and white horizontal bands. Han Qi has a 2013 photo, a 2011 photo is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. NGA lists a 6 m (20 ft) tower, but the present tower is clearly taller than that. Located at the end of a pier about hafway between the Xiaoqingdao and Tuandao lighthouses. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. NGA 18690.
* Tuandao (Tuan Dao, Tuan Tao, Yuneishan, Yu Nui Shan) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1900 (German)). Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white, red or green light depending on direction, occulting once every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to several 1-1/2 story stone keeper's houses. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands; the houses are painted white with orange tile roofs. Fog horn (4 blasts every 30 s). An MSA photo is at right, a 2008 closeup is available, Yu Chien Wang has several additional photos, Jim Smith has a view from the harbor, Forand has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the original lighthouse, and Forand has a second postcard view. This historic light station stands on the east side of the entrance to Jiaozhou Bay and the harbor of Qingdao. It is listed as a tourist attraction, but we've seen no information that the buildings are open. Located on an island (now joined to the mainland) at the southwestern tip of Qingdao city. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PRC-060; CN-1667; Admiralty F3824; NGA 18692.
Tuandao Light
Tuandao Light, Qingdao, 2009
PRC Maritime Safety Administration Wenzhou office photo
Qingdao Dagang Entrance Right (2)
1953 (station established 1905). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); continuous green light. 5 m (17 ft) round stone tower with gallery, painted with green and white horizontal bands. There's a photo showing the top of the tower peeking over a pierhead building, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a wharf on the north (left) side of the entrance to the harbor of Qingdao. Site status unknown. CN-1682; Admiralty F3837; NGA 18728.
Qingdao Dagang North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 8 m (26 ft) round concrete tower with gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. A smoggy distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the north breakwater of the modern harbor of Qingdao. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3836; NGA 18708.
Qingdao Dagang Entrance Left (2)
1953 (station established 1905). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); continuous red light. 5 m (17 ft) round stone tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a wharf on the north (left) side of the entrance to the harbor of Qingdao. Site status unknown. CN-1681; Admiralty F3837.5; NGA 18720.
Matijiao (Mati Jiao, Horseshoe Reef)
1904. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white flash every 8 s (MSA's page says two white flashes every 6 s). 11 m (36 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a square concrete pier. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands. A news agency photo is at right, the Qingdao Library has a historic photo and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was completely restored and converted to solar power in 2011, including installation of a replica of the original lantern. Located on an islet in Jiaozhou Bay about 1200 m (3/4 mi) off the Qingdao waterfront. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-1675; Admiralty F3832; NGA 18704.

Huangdao District Lighthouses
Lightship Zhongsha Jiao
2005 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); white flash every 6 s. 25.3 m (83 ft) single-masted lightship, painted red. Tianjin MSA has a photo of the ship being serviced in Qingdao in June 2013, and Google has a satellite view. Located in the center of the entrance to Jiaozhou Bay, the outer harbor of Qingdao. Accessible only by boat. CN-1671; Admiralty F3825; NGA 18700.
Lightship Huangdao Outer Channel
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; two white flashes every 10 s. 23 m (85 ft) single-masted lightship, painted red. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located at the channel entrance about 7 km (4 mi) south of Qingdao harbor. Accessible only by boat. CN-1716.21; Admiralty F3823; NGA 18686.
Daqiaodao (Daqiao Dao) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) tower, mounted on a conical concrete base. Base painted white, tower red. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on an isolated rock about 8 km (5 mi) south of Qingdao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-1660; Admiralty F3822; NGA 18684.
Zhuchadao (Zhucha Dao) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1954). Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 5 m (17 ft) (?) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted black. A distant view is available (click on the photo for enlargement), and Bing has a satellite view. The present lighthouse is obviously taller than 5 m and it is probably concrete rather than stone. Located near the southwest end of a small island about 6 km (4 mi) south southwest of Daqiaodao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CN-1716; Admiralty F3820; NGA 18676.
Matijiao Light
Matijiao Light, Qingdao, August 2011
PRC Xinhua News Agency photo
Liandao (Lian Dao)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) round fiberglass tower, colored with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island off the east coast of Zhuchadao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3821; NGA 18678.
Lightship Qingdao Gang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; three white flashes every 15 s. No photo available. This is a historic lightship station that has been reestablished recently. Located about 6 km (4 mi) south of Zhuchadao. Accessible only by boat. Site and vessel closed. CN-1716.1; Admiralty F3819.
Laoling Shi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) round concrete tower, listed as white but a very distant view shows it with black and white horizontal bands (click on the photo for magnification). Bing has a satellite view. Located on a reef off the end of the Lingshan Peninsula. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3811; NGA 18679.2.

Jiaonan City Lighthouses
Lingshandao
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white flash every 6 s. 5 m (17 ft) round rubblestone tower with gallery, painted with red and white vertical stripes. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Lingshandao is a mountainous island about 5 km (3 mi) long and 13 km (8 mi) off the coast, roughly 30 km (19 mi) south southwest of Qingdao. The island is a resort for Chinese but does not appear to have accommodations catering to foreigners. Lighthouse located at the southwestern tip of the island. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3810; NGA 18680.
Yanwangbizi Shan (Dazhushan Zui, Dazhushanzui) (2)
2013 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 166 m (545 ft); white flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) round stone tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The original light was lower on the slope of the cape, with a focal plane of 121 m (397 ft); the light was moved when new development altered the area. Located on a promontory south of Jiaonan, opposite Lingshandao. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3809; NGA 18751.

Rizhao Prefecture Lighthouses

Donggang District Lighthouses
Zhaitangdao (Zhaitang Dao)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 80 m (262 ft); white flash every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) square stone tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view that probably shows the lighthouse. Located at the southern tip of an island about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of Rizhao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3808.8; NGA 18751.2.
#Dongjiakou
Date unknown. This was an 11 m (36 ft) round stone tower. No photo available. Google's satellite view shows the area has been altered drastically by recent devlopment. It is possible that the light will be displayed from a new structure. Located on a promontory about 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Rizhao. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3808.6; NGA 18751.4.

Rizhao City Lighthouses
* Rizhao (2?)
Around 2000(?) (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 8 s. 36 m (118 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and double gallery, centered on a circular 1-story concrete building. Lighthouse painted white with blue trim. Terry Hu's photo is at right, a 2009 photo is available, another photo shows the tower floodlit at night, Wikimedia has photos, and Google has an excellent satellite view. The wide lower gallery suggests the lighthouse may be open for climbing, but no confirmation of that is available. Rizhao is a fishing port and Yellow Sea beach resort in southern Shandong. The lighthouse is the centerpiece of Lighthouse Square, part of a concerted effort to upgrade the city's beaches and tourist facilities. Located just off the beach, south of a new marina and about 8 km (5 mi) north of the traditional harbor of Rizhao. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS PRC-056; CN-1746; Admiralty F3808; NGA 18752.
Xiuzhenhe Kou
2009. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 12 m (39 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, colored with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the entrance to the Xiuzhen industrial port at Lanshan, near the Jiangsu border. Site status unknown. Admiralty F3805.9.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Rizhao Light
Rizhao Light, July 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Terry Hu

Adjoining pages: North: Northern Shandong | South: Jiangsu and Shanghai

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Posted March 31, 2008. Checked and revised May 4, 2014. Lighthouses: 27, lightships: 4. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.