Lighthouses of Japan: Southeastern Hokkaidō

Hokkaidō is the northernmost of the four main islands of Japan. It is very roughly triangular in shape, facing northeast on the Sea of Okhotsk, southeast on the Pacific Ocean, and west on the Sea of Japan. It is separated from Honshū to the south by the Tsugaru Strait and from Russian Sakhalin to the north by the La Pérouse or Sōya Strait. The entire island forms a single prefecture, which is easily the largest prefecture of Japan.

This page covers lighthouses of the southern coast of Hokkaidō in Hidaka and Iburi subprefectures. This coast faces southward on the Pacific Ocean.

In Japanese, the word for a lighthouse is tōdai or toudai (灯台). The words saki and misaki are for capes and headlands, shima (also spelled sima or jima) is an island, wan is a bay, and is a harbor. Lighthouses in Japan are operated and maintained by the Japanese Coast Guard's Maritime Safety Agency. Lighthouses in Hidaka and Iburi subprefectures are maintained by the Muroran Coast Guard office.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. JCG numbers are the Japanese Coast Guard's light list numbers. Admiralty numbers are from volume M of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Lighthouses in Japan - Hokkaidō
Photos and data for Hokkaidō lighthouses.
Lighthouse of Japan - Hokkaidō
Another site with excellent photos and text in Japanese.
Misty's Japanese Lighthouse Tour - Hokkaidō
Photos and brief notes in English.
Form of a Lighthouse
Another site with many photos of lighthouses in northern Japan, cited below as FOAL.
Photogallery: Lighthouse 1 and Lighthouse 2
Photos posted by the Muroran Coast Guard Office.
Lighthouses in Hokkaido Prefecture
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Japan: Modern Lighthouses
Historic postcard views posted by Michel Forand.

Horoizumi Light
1891 Horoizumi Light, Erimo
Eastern Hokkaidō Regional Development Bureau photo

Hidaka Subprefecture Lighthouses

Erimo Town (Cape Erimo Area) Lighthouses
#Shoya Kō East Breakwater (1)
Date unknown. Removed sometime after July 2010. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) concrete post attached to a 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse was red. This lighthouse is at the left in FOAL's July 2010 photo taken across the harbor, but Google's satellite view shows that it has been replaced by a light on a small post. The east breakwater has been extended, and the main light (red flash every 3 s) has been moved to a post at the end of the extension. Located on the detached east breakwater of the harbor of Shoya, about 12 km (7.5 mi) north of Cape Erimo. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-984; ex-JCG-0121; ex-Admiralty M6803.5; ex-NGA 0574.
** Erimo Misaki (Cape Erimo)
1950 (station established 1889). Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); white flash every 15 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story equipment shelter. A large clamshell Fresnel lens, probably 2nd order, is in use. Lighthouse painted white. A photo is at right, a 2007 closeup photo and a fine 2010 photo are available, the Lighthouse of Japan site has excellent photos, FOAL's page for the lighthouse has many photos, Misty's Tour has photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The original lighthouse was destroyed in World War II. The station is staffed although the light itself has been automated since 1964. The skeletal towers flanking the lighthouse have radars that measure wave heights. The light, one of the most powerful in Japan, has a range of 40 km (25 mi). Cape Erimo is the sharp southeastern corner of Hokkaidō, projecting spectacularly into the Pacific. The cape is known for high winds and frequent fogs; the Erimo Wind Museum has exhibits on the cape and its weather. A lighthouse festival is held here every August. Located on a bluff at the point of the cape. Accessible by road; parking provided. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-060; JCG-0120; Admiralty M6802; NGA 0576.
#Horoizumi (2)
Date unknown (station established 1891). Inactive since 2009 and demolished soon after. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. The Lighthouse of Japan site has several photos taken in May 2009, a 2008 panoramic view is available, and Misty's Tour has a distant photo, but the lighthouse is missing from Google's satellite view. The light was deactivated in November 2009 and was removed before the FOAL webmaster's visit in July 2010. Formerly located on a hillside about 10 km (6 mi) northwest of Cape Erimo and 1 km (0.6 mi) southeast of Erimo Kō. ex-JCG-0119; ex-Admiralty M6796; ex-NGA 0580.
* Horoizumi (1)
1891. Inactive. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) square cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A photo is at the top of this page, a 2008 photo is available, the Lighthouse of Japan site has a photo (last photo on the page), FOAL's Erimo page has a photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The lighthouse was moved to its present location; its original focal plane was 22 m (72 ft). Located on the waterfront of Erimo Kō, about 10 km (6 mi) northwest of Cape Erimo. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS JPN-139.

Erimo Misaki Light
Erimo Misaki Light, Erimo, June 2012
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Highten31

Erimo Kō
1989. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two red flashes every 5 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. FOAL's page has photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the west end of a detached breakwater protecting the entrance to the port of Erimo. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-851; JCG-0117.5; Admiralty M6797; NGA 0584.

Samani Town Lighthouses
Samani Kō East Outer Breakwater
1974. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is red. FOAL's page has photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the long eastern breakwater protecting the harbor of Samani, about 40 km (25 mi) northwest of Cape Erimo. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-958; JCG-0116; Admiralty M6791; NGA 0600.
#Samani Kō West Breakwater
Date unknown. Inactive since 2008 and removed soon thereafter. This was an 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse was white. Yobito Kayanuma has a 2006 view, and a very distant view is available, but Natsuki Hayashi's 2010 photo shows that the lighthouse was removed. Located at the end of the original west breakwater, now an inner breakwater. Site and tower closed. ex-JCG-0115; ex-Admiralty M6792; ex-NGA 0596.

Urakawa Town Lighthouses
* Urakawa
1891. Active; focal plane 47 m (154 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (36 ft) square old-style concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. The Lighthouse of Japan site has excellent photos, FOAL has another closeup photo, Misty's Tour has two photos, and Google has a satellite view. The modern lantern is not centered on the tower, but is mounted on the seaward corner. Located on a bluff above the seaport of Urakawa. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-722; JCG-0113; Admiralty M6786; NGA 0604.
* Urakawa Kō South Breakwater (2)
Date unknown (station established 1929). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 3 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is red. FOAL's page has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located 80 m (262 ft) from the end of the recently-extended south breakwater of Urakawa. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. JCG-0112; Admiralty M6788; NGA 0608.
* Urakawa Kō North Breakwater
1962. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); continuous green light with a more intense flash every 5 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is white. FOAL's page has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the inner north breakwater of Urakawa. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-1005; JCG-0111; Admiralty M6789; NGA 0612.

Urakawa Light, Urakawa
Japanese Coast Guard photo

Hidaka Town Lighthouses
* Shizunai
1967. Active; focal plane 91 m (299 ft); white flash every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story equipment shelter. Lighthouse colored white with one red horizontal band. A photo is at right, FOAL's page has photos, a 2010 photo is available, Misty's Tour also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a bluff above the harbor of Shizunai, a port about halfway between Cape Erimo and the city of Tomakomai. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-592; JCG-0105; Admiralty M6777; NGA 0632.
* Seppu Kō
1975. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); two red flashes every 6 s. 9 m (30 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is red. FOAL's page has photos, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Located at the end of the long south breakwater protecting the harbor of Seppu. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. JCG-0104; Admiralty M6776; NGA 0640.
* Atsuga Kō South Breakwater
1966. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); red flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is red. Yasufumi Shimo has a sunset photo, FOAL's page has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the long south breakwater sheltering the harbor of Atsuga, about 15 km (10 mi) west of Shizunai and 45 km (28 mi) east of Tomakomai. Apparently accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-846; JCG-0103; Admiralty M6775; NGA 0644.
* Hidaka Monbetsu (Monbetu)
1970. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); white light, 4 s on, 4 s off. 13 m (43 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted white. Lighthouse of Japan has good photos, FOAL's page has photos, another closeup is available, Misty's Tour also has a good photo, Wikimedia has a 2010 photo by Miyuki Meinaka, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Note: there are several lighthouses at another Monbetsu on the north coast of Hokkaidō. Located on a bluff a short distance east of the harbor of Hidaka Monbetsu, about 35 km (22 mi) east of Tomakomai. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-111; JCG-0102; Admiralty M6774.6; NGA 0648.
Shizunai Light
Shizunai Light, Hidaka, May 2014
Panoramio photo copyright touman; used by permission

Iburi Subprefecture Lighthouses

Tomakomai City Lighthouses
Note: A large and busy port, Tomakomai is the Pacific-side seaport for Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaidō. The city lies on the Yūfutsu Plain at the foot of Mt. Tarumae, an active volcano. It has a population of about 175,000.
Tomakomai East Harbor East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); two red flashes every 6 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is red. FOAL has a distant view (bottom of the page), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the very long east breakwater sheltering the modern harbor of Tomakomai, on the east side of the city. Probably accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-865; JCG-0097.8; Admiralty M6774.3; NGA 0658.
Tomakomai East Harbor Middle Breakwater Southeast Head (?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); two green flashes every 4 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. FOAL has a July 2011 distant view (bottom of the page), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the east end of a detached outer breakwater sheltering the modern harbor of Tomakomai. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. JCG-0097.7; Admiralty M6774.2.
Tomakomai Kō East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 16 m (52 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. A view from the sea is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the east breakwater at the entrance to the traditional harbor at downtown Tomakomai. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-666; JCG-0093; Admiralty M6773.7; NGA 0672.
Tomakomai Kō West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); two green flashes every 7 s. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A view from the sea is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of a short mole on the west side of the entrance to the traditional harbor at downtown Tomakomai. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-867; JCG-0092; Admiralty M6773; NGA 0664.
* Tomakomai
1965. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white flash every 12 s. 32 m (105 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. NGA lists the colors as black and white, so the paint scheme may have been changed recently. A closeup photo is at right, Koichi Yokota has a 2010 photo, Misty's Tour has a photo, FOAL's page has photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located just off highway 36 in an industrial area in western Tomakomai, about 4 km (2.5 mi) west of the old Tomakomai Kō harbor. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-665; JCG-0091; Admiralty M6772; NGA 0676.

Shiraoi Town Lighthouse
*
Ayoro Hana
1976. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); flash every 16 s, alternately red and white. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small service building. Lighthouse colored with red and white horizontal bands. Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page with several photos, Misty's Tour has several photos, Shiraoi.net has a good photo, FOAL's page has photos, and Google has a satellite view. Ayoro Hana is the shoulder of an extinct volcano; the summit is occupied by Lake Kuttara, a well-known tourist attraction. Located on a bluff about 8 km (5 mi) northeast of Noboribetsu and 20 km (13 mi) northeast of Muroran. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-036; JCG-0090; Admiralty M6770; NGA 0680.
Tomakomai Light
Tomakomai Light, Tomakomai, October 2010
anonymous Creative Commons photo

Noboribetsu City Lighthouses
Noboribetsu Kō
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is red. Another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view and a very distant street view. Located at the end of the long east breakwater sheltering the harbor of Noboribetsu. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2633; JCG-0089; Admiralty M6770.3; NGA 0684.

Muroran City Lighthouses
Note: The capital of Iburi Subprefecture, Muroran is an important port and industrial center. The city has a fine natural harbor sheltered by Cape Chikiu. The population is about 95,000.
Chikiu (Tikiu) Misaki
1920. Active; focal plane 131 m (430 ft); two white flashes every 30 s. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small 1-story keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is at right, Lighthouse of Japan has excellent photos, Daita Saru has a good photo, Misty's Tour has several photos, FOAL's page has photos, Forand has a historic postcard view and a second postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. and Jun Dong Chang's street view from an observation deck above the light station. Tikiu or Chikiu Misaki (Cape Earth) is a prominent cape that shelters the harbor of Muroran and the entrance to Uchiura Wan, a large circular bay. This picturesque spot is a popular one, but it appears that the lighthouse grounds are closed; nearly all photos (like the one at right) are taken from a scenic overlook higher on the cape. Located on the south side of the city of Muroran. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-645; JCG-0088; Admiralty M6745; NGA 0688.
Oinaoshi Gyoko
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. FOAL has a photo taken from Chikiu Misaki, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located at the end of the west breakwater at Oinaoshi, on the southwest side of the Muroran peninsula about 4 km (2.5 mi) west of Chikiu Misaki. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2634; JCG-0087.5; Admiralty M6745.5; NGA 0692.
* Muroran (Daikoku Shima) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1891). Inactive since 1974. Square cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery rising from a keeper's house. Entire building is white. A 2015 closeup photo and several additional photos are available, Scott Henderson has a distant view, another distant photo is available (click on the photo for enlargement), and Google has a satellite view. Forand has a postcard view of the original lighthouse, a short hexagonal wood tower. Located atop Daikoku Shima, a small island in the entrance to Muroran harbor. Transportation to the island is available. Site status unknown, but it should be possible to view the lighthouse from nearby.
Muroran Kō Breakwater Southwest Head
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 11 m (36 ft) round hourglass-shaped concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. FOAL has a photo (second photo on the page), the lighthouse is seen in a distant photo (click on the photo for enlargement), and Google has a satellite view. This light marks a southwestern entrance to Muroran, south of Daikoku Shima. Located at the end of a breakwater on the south side of the entrance to Muroran harbor. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-917; JCG-0060; Admiralty M6746.6; NGA 0696.
Chikiu Masaki Light
Chikiu (Tikiu) Misaki Light, Muroran, May 2013
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Soica2001
Muroran Kō South Outer Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red light occulting once every 8 s. 14 m (46 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. FOAL has a view (third photo on the page), Keith Clark has a distant view, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of a detached breakwater on the south side of the main channel entering Muroran harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-920; JCG-0059; Admiralty M6746.4; NGA 0704.
Muroran Kō South Auxiliary Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); continuous red light with a more intense flash every 5 s. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is red. FOAL has a view (last photo on the page), the lighthouse is in the foreground of Scott Henderson's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of a short breakwater on the south side of the channel entering Muroran harbor, north of Daikoku Shima; after passing the outer breakwaters ships must make an S-turn around this lighthouse to line up with the channel under the cross-harbor bridge. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-379; JCG-0059.5; Admiralty M6747; NGA 0712.
Muroran Kō South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is red. This lighthouse stands at the end of an older breakwater, now just east (upstream) of the cross-harbor Hakuchō Bridge. FOAL has a view (fourth photo on the page), the light can be seen under the bridge in a photo of the harbor, and Google has a satellite view. Completed in 1998, the suspension bridge is regarded as a major engineering accomplishment. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-919; JCG-0064.5; Admiralty M6750; NGA 0720.
Muroran Kō North Outer Breakwater (1)
Date unknown. Inactive. 10 m (33 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. A closeup photo is at right, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse was relocated from the breakwater; it stands now a short distance from the waterfront near the main entrance to the city's stadium. Site open, tower closed.
Muroran Kō North Outer Breakwater (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green light occulting once every 8 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. FOAL has a view (third photo on the page), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of a detached breakwater on the north side of the channel entering Muroran harbor; this breakwater is perpendicular to the shore and provides the basic protection for the harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-918; JCG-0063; Admiralty M6746; NGA 0708.
Old Muroran North Breakwater Light
Original North Breakwater Light, Muroran, 2008
Panoramio photo copyright Y. Daisuke; used by permission

Date City Lighthouses
Date Kō
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 3 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. Kazuya Yamaguchi has a rather odd photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater at Date, a city about 25 km (15 mi) northwest of Muroran. Site status unknown. JCG-0057.3; Admiralty M6744.5; NGA 0788.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Eastern Hokkaidō | South: Southern Hokkaidō

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Posted July 10, 2006. Checked and revised September 11, 2016. Lighthouses: 32. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.