Lighthouses of Japan: Kumamoto Mainland

Located at the southwestern end of the Japanese archipelago, the island of Kyūshū is divided into seven prefectures. This page includes the lighthouses of Kumamoto Prefecture that are on the mainland of Kyūshū. Most of the prefecture's lighthouses are in the Amakusa Islands, which lie to the southwest, separating Yatsushiro Bay from Ariake Bay.

Also included on this page are several lighthouses on Ariake Bay that are located in Fukuoka and Saga Prefectures, respectively. Fukuoka and Saga have many other lighthouses on their northern coasts, and those lighthouses are listed on the Fukuoka and Saga pages.

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, andis a harbor. Lighthouses in Japan are operated and maintained by the Japanese Coast Guard's Maritime Safety Agency. There is at least one Coast Guard Section Office in each prefecture, often two or more. Kumamoto Prefecture has one station, at Kumamoto City. However, the last five lighthouses on this page are maintained by the office at Miike in neighboring Fukuota Prefecture.

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
A comprehensive site, although almost entirely in Japanese. It's easiest to use the pages for each prefecture: Kumamoto, Fukuoka, and Saga.
Our Lighthouses of Kumamoto Prefecture
A comprehensive collection of photos of Kagoshima lighthouses, but note that lighthouses of the Amakusa area are on the site's home page. There are companion pages for Saga and Fukuoka prefectures.
Lighthouse of Japan
Another comprehensive site, in Japanese, with pages for each prefecture: Kumamoto | Fukuoka | Saga.
Form of a Lighthouse - Kumamoto
Another site with many photos of Japanese lighthouses.
Kiso's Lighthouses
This site has many excellent photos of Japanese lighthouses.
Region Ten Lighthouses
Information and photos posted by the Tenth Coast Guard Region office, which is responsible for Kumamoto Prefecture.
Kumamoto Prefecture Lighthouses
Information posted by the Kumamoto Coast Guard Office. The office also has a gallery of photos.
Miike Area Lighthouses
Information and photos posted by the Miike Coast Guard Office.
Japanese Lighthouses
This large collection of photos has a page for Kumamoto.

Tobase Sima Light
Tobase Shima Light, Uki
Japanese Coast Guard Tenth Region photo

Higo Okino Shima Light
Higo Okino Shima Light, Ashikita
Japanese Coast Guard Kumamoto Office photo

Lighthouses of Kumamoto Prefecture

Minamata City Lighthouse
Koiji Shima (Minamata Kō)
1957. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) concrete post rising from a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. A Coast Guard photo is at right, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the western tip of Koiji Shima, and island off Minamata harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2100; JCG-6542; Admiralty M5134; NGA 11212.

Ashikita Town Lighthouses
* Egushi Kō
1965. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); continuous red light with a more intense flash every 6 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is red. Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a breakwater on the west side of the entrance to Egushi. Accessible by walking the pier. ARLHS JPN-2088; JCG-6538; Admiralty M5147.4; NGA 11236.
Higo Okino Shima
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 3 s. 8 m (25 ft) round concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. A Coast Guard photo is at the top of this page, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located in Yatsushiro Bay about 1.5 km (1 mi) northwest of the Egushi lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2092; JCG-6537; Admiralty M5147.47; NGA 11240.

Yatsushiro City Lighthouses
Yatsushiro Kō Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); two red flashes every 8 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) round concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is red. Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of a short breakwater on the south side of the entrance to Yatsushiro. Site and tower closed, but there's a good view from ferries crossing Yatsushiro Bay between Yatsushiro and Amakusa. ARLHS JPN-2116; JCG-6532; Admiralty M5142.4; NGA 11304.
Yatsushiro Kō Groin
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 3 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) round concrete tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Lighthouse is white. Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of a partially-submerged training wall in Yatsushiro harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2115; JCG-6524; Admiralty M5142; NGA 11308.
Koiji Shima Light
Koiji Shima Light, Minamata
Japanese Coast Guard Kumamoto Office photo

Uki City Lighthouses
Mifune (Mihune) Se
1980. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); one short and one long red flash every 8 s. 12 m (39 ft) round concrete tower with double gallery mounted on a concrete pier; an adjoining pier has steps for access to the light. The tower is red. Another photo is available (almost halfway down the page), and Google has a distant satellite view. Located about 800 m (1/2 mi) offshore at the head of Yatsushiro Bay west of Uki. Accessible only by boat, but there is an excellent view from highway 266, which is very close to the shore in this area. Site open, tower closed. JCG-6436; Admiralty M5143.2; NGA 11564.
Tobase Shima
1898. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white light, 3 s off, 3 s on. 8 m (26 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small 1-story stone keeper's cottage. Entire lighthouse painted white. A Coast Guard photo is at the top of this page, Our Lighthouses has a page with excellent photos, the Coast Guard has a page for the lighthouse, Kiso has a closeup photo (a little over halfway down the page), and Bing has a satellite view. This is one in a chain of Yatsushiro Bay lighthouses built shortly after Japan took control of Taiwan. The lighthouse marks the entrance from Yatsushiro Bay to the narrow Misumi Strait, the northern entrance to the bay. Located at the southern tip of Tobase Shima, an island about 9 km (6.5 mi) southeast of Misumi. Accessible by a hiking trail (local guidance needed; a 2010 visitor reports some difficulty locating the lighthouse). Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-655; JCG-6434; Admiralty M5143; NGA 11556.
* Tera Shima
1898. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); flash every 3 s, white or red depending on direction. 11 m (36 ft) round tapered stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A Coast Guard photo appears at right, the Coast Guard has a second photo, Our Lighthouses has a page with excellent photos, another photo is available (about 1/3 the way down the page), and Bing has a satellite view. Another in the chain of Yatsushiro Bay lighthouses built shortly after Japan took control of Taiwan. Located off the northeastern tip of an island in the Misumi Strait, about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) south of the city. The lighthouse appears to be accessible, at least at low tide. Site open, tower closed. JCG-6432; Admiralty M5164; NGA 11552.

Tera Shima Light, Uki
Japanese Coast Guard photo
Misumi Kō (Ninai Shima)
1962. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is white. Our Lighthouses has a page with photos, another page is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on an islet at the western end of Ninai Shima in the middle of Misumi Strait, on the west side of the city. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-2101; JCG-6429; Admiralty M5162; NGA 11548.

Uto City Lighthouses
Ōdo Kō
1972. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); green flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) tapered square skeletal tower, painted white. Google has a distant street view, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of a long training wall at Ōdo harbor. Accessible in very calm weather by walking the pier, but it is a long walk. Site open, tower closed. JCG-6427; Admiralty M5167; NGA 11588.
Sumiyoshi (Sumiyosi)
1933. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white light, 3 s on , 3 s off. 17 m (56 ft) 2-stage tower, rising from a 1-story keeper's house. The upper stage of the lighthouse (apparently added in 1985) is round; the lower stage (not shown in available photos) is octagonal. Entire lighthouse is white. The Coast Guard has a page for the lighthouse, Our Lighthouses has a page with good photos, Lighthouse-Japan.com also has a page with a photo, Kiso also has a photo (halfway down the page), another photo is available (third photo on the page), and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a promontory on the south side of the entrance to Sumiyoshi, the port district of Uto. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-598; JCG-6426; Admiralty M5168; NGA 11592.

Kumamoto City Lighthouses
* Hyakkan (Hyakkanishi) Kō
1952. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white light occulting once every 8 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) round concrete tower with double gallery, mounted on a square pyramidal concrete pier. Entire lighthouse is white. Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page with a good photo, Our Lighthouses also has a page with photos, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Hyakkan is the harbor associated with the prefectural capital, Kumamoto. Located on a point of land at the north side of the entrance to the harbor. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-149; JCG-6423; Admiralty M5170; NGA 11596.
Higoshioya (Higo Sioyo) Kō
1971. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); two red flashes every 8 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, painted red. Google has a satellite view and a very distant street view. Located on the south breakwater of Higoshioya harbor in the Kawachi district of Kumamoto. Apparently accessible by walking the pier, but it would be a long walk. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2174; JCG-6421; Admiralty M5171; NGA 11600.
Kawachi (Kawati)
1935. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); white flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) square concrete tower with gallery, flared at the top. Entire lighthouse is white. Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page with photos, Our Lighthouses also has a page with photos, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a bluff south of the entrance to Kawachi harbor, about 10 km (6 mi) west northwest of Kumamoto. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-250; JCG-6420; Admiralty M5172; NGA 11604.

Note: The remaining lighthouses on this page are maintained by the Miike Coast Guard Office.
Nagasu Town Lighthouse
Nagasu Kō
1981. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 8.5 m (26 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment room. Entire lighthouse is white. The Coast Guard has a small photo (#30 on the page), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main (north) breakwater of Nagasu. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-2103; JCG-6416; Admiralty M5173.2; NGA 11616.

Arao City Lighthouse
*
Miike Kō (Yotsuyama)
1951. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); white flash every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story concrete service building. Entire lighthouse is white. A Coast Guard photo is at right, Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page with good photos, Our Lighthouses also has a page with photos, Kiso has a good photo (halfway down the page), Linda Daigliesh has a 2009 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Miike Kō is the port for the city of Ōmuta, on the northeast side of Ariake Bay. Miike is in Fukuoka Prefecture, but the lighthouse is 400 m (1/4 mi) across the line in Kumamoto Prefecture. Located atop a hill, Yotsuyama, on the south side of the harbor area. Site open, tower closed. JCG-6414; Admiralty M5174; NGA 11628.
Miike Light
Miike Kō Light, Arao
Japanese Coast Guard Miike Office photo

Lighthouses of Southern Fukuoka Prefecture

Ōmuta City Lighthouse
Miike (Ōmuta) Groin (2)
Date unknown (station established 1908). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 3 s. 11 m (43 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment room, centered on a large round stone pier. Entire lighthouse is white. A good closeup is available, and Bing has a satellite view. The Fukuoka Prefectural Library has posted a postcard view of the original light. Located at the end of a long groin on the north side of the entrance to Ōmuta. Accessible only by boat (the groin is not walkable). Site status unknown. JCG-6412; Admiralty M5175; NGA 11636.

Yanagawa City Lighthouse
Chikugo (Tikugo)
Date unknown (station established 1936). Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); one long and three short red flashes every 8 s. 14 m (46 ft) round concrete tower attached to a small equipment shelter and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Entire lighthouse is red. A Coast Guard photo is at right, Our Lighthouses has a distant view, the Coast Guard also has a small photo (#17 on the page), and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a shoal about 4 km (2.5 mi) southwest of Yanagawa harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. JCG-6407; Admiralty M5175.8; NGA 11704.
Chikugo Light
Chikugo Light, Yanagawa
Japanese Coast Guard Miike Office photo

Lighthouses of Southern Saga Prefecture

Tara Town Lighthouses
Kame Se
1958. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) two-stage concrete tower, painted black with one red horizontal band. Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located in the center of the entrance to Tara harbor. Accessible only by boat, but easily seen from shore. Site open, and nothing prevents climbing on the tower. JCG-6391; Admiralty M5178.5; NGA 11656.
Tsuru Se (Tsuruse) (2)
1970 (station established 1945). Active; focal plane unknown; continuous white spotlight. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) round concrete tower carrying a large round concrete lantern structure; the light is shown through a window. The Coast Guard has a small photo, and another photo (1/4 the way down the page) is available, but the light has not been found in Google's satellite view. Site open, tower closed. JCG-6390.
* Yatō Hana
1954. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); white flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) concrete post attached to a small 1-story concrete equipment room. Entire lighthouse is white. Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page with photos, Our Lighthouses also has a page with photos, and Google has a satellite view. The light marks the north side of the entrance to Isahaya Bay, an embayment on the west side of Ariake Bay. Located about 20 km (13 mi) northeast of Isahaya. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-755; JCG-6388; Admiralty M5179; NGA 11644.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: South: Kushikino Area | Southwest: Amakusa Islands | West: Nagasaki Area

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Posted July 23, 2007. Checked and revised April 5, 2014. Lighthouses: 21. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.