Lighthouses of Japan: Saga (Karatsu Area)

Located at the southwestern end of the Japanese archipelago, Kyūshū is divided into seven prefectures. This page includes lighthouses of Saga Prefecture on the northern coast of the island. The coast of Saga faces northwest on the Tsushima Strait, which connects the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan. Nearly all of this coast is in the metropolitan city of Karatsu.

Note: Saga Prefecture also has a short southern coastline facing Ariake Bay. Lighthouses of the Ariake Bay coast are listed on the Kumamoto Area page.

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. The lights of Saga Prefecture are maintained by the office at Karatsu.

A note on the Sea of Japan/East Sea controversy: The Directory takes no side in any international dispute; it makes use of the terminology, names, and spellings as they currently exist in each area covered. The sea between Japan and Korea is called the Sea of Japan on the pages for Japan and the East Sea on the pages for Korea.

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 - Saga
A comprehensive site, although almost entirely in Japanese.
Kiso's Lighthouses
This site has many excellent photos of Japanese lighthouses.
Lighthouse-Japan.com - Saga
This site has good photos and background information for many of the major lighthouses.
Our Lighthouses of Saga Prefecture
A comprehensive collection of photos of lighthouses in Saga.
Coast of Japan - Cape/Lighthouse Index
This site has numerous photos of Saga lighthouses. Entirely in Japanese, but lighthouses can be located by their JCG numbers.

Kakara Shima Lighthouse
Kakara Shima Light, Karatsu
Japanese Coast Guard Seventh Region photo

Hizen Area Lighthouses
* Takekushi Kō South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical fiberglass tower. Entire lighthouse is red. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Takakushi harbor in the Hizen district of western Karatsu. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. JCG-5906; Admiralty M5255.5; NGA 12152.
Takekushi Kō West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical fiberglass tower. Entire lighthouse is red. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the north end of the detached west breakwater of Takakushi harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. JCG-5905; Admiralty M5255.7; NGA 12148.
* Miya Saki (Hizen Miyazaki)
1975. Active; focal plane 11.5 m (38 ft); white light, occulting once every 8 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) concrete post attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is at right, another photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse stands near a Shinto shrine, just offshore on a concrete pier. Located on a prominent cape at the eastern entrance to Matsuura Bay, about 18 km (11 mi) west of Karatsu. Site open, tower closed. JCG-5903; Admiralty M5254.9; NGA 12156.
Muku Shima (Hizen Mukushima)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 80 m (263 ft); white flash every 4 s. 12 m (39 ft) concrete post rising from a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. A small photo, a view from the sea, and an extreme closeup photo are available, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Muku Shima is an island about 3 km (1.8 mi) offshore and 8 km (5 mi) north of Miya Saki. The island is inhabited, but we don't know if there is public access to the lighthouse. Located on heights above the south end of the island. Site possibly open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-133; JCG-5899; Admiralty M5256; NGA 12160.

Genkai Town Lighthouse
Chika Saki
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white light, 5 s on, 5 s off. 9.5 m (31 ft) round concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. Only very distant photos of this light are available; Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a promontory within the grounds of the Genkai Nuclear Power Plant. (This location is in Genkai Town, which is surrounded by Karatsu City.) Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-804; JCG-5898; Admiralty M5257.4; NGA 12176.
Miya Saki Light
Hizen Miya Saki Light, Karatsu
Karatsu City photo

Yobuko Area Lighthouses
Madara Shima (Hizen Madara Shima)
1962. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white light, occulting twice every 7 s. 10 m (33 ft) concrete post rising from a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is available, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Madara Shima is an island about 800 m (1/2 mi) in diameter, located about 12 km (7.5 mi) north of Miya Saki. The lighthouse is on a promontory at the southwestern tip of the island. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-132; JCG-5897; Admiralty M5257; NGA 12168.
* Hadono Misaki (Hado Misaki, Hado Saki)
1949 ("reconstructed" in 1990). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower topped by a concrete post and attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. Our Lighthouses has a page with good photos, Lighthouse-Japan.com has a closeup, another photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Probably the height of the light was increased in 1990 by adding the post atop the original tower. Hadono Misaki is a cape at the northernmost point of the Saga mainland. Located about 20 km (12.5 mi) northwest of Karatsu. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2343; JCG-5894; Admiralty M5268; NGA 12180.
* Kakara Shima
1978. Active; focal plane 71 m (233 ft); white flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) square cylidnrical concrete tower with double gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. The Coast Guard's photo is at the top of this page, another good photo is available, Kiso has a dramatic view from the sea (about 1/6 the way down the page, #5882), and Bing has a satellite view. Kakara Shima is an island about 7 km (4.5 mi) north of Hadono Misaki. The lighthouse marks the northernmost point of Saga Prefecture. Located atop a steep bluff on the northern tip of Kakara Shima. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-211; JCG-5882; Admiralty M5265.7; NGA 12184.
Kakara Futame Se
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); continuous white light. 6 m (20 ft) square white concrete building; a spotlight shown through a window illuminates a whiet concrete post on the Futame Se reef 650 m (0.4 mi) southeast. A photo is available (halfway down the page, #5883), and there is a small photo of the post on the reef. The building is seen in Bing's satellite view, and the post is visible in a second satellite view. Located on the heights above the Kakara Shima harbor, at the south end of the island. Site probably open, tower closed. JCG-5883; Admiralty M5265.65; NGA 12188.
* Yobuko Kō Nagoya Bay Breakwater
1963. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); continuous red light with a more intense flash every 5 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) concrete post attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is red. Bing has a distant satellite view. The bridge seen in the background of the photo connects the mainland to Kabe Shima. Located at the end of a breakwater on the west side of the entrance to Nagoya Bay in Yobuko harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. ARLHS JPN-2355; JCG-5893; Admiralty M5267; NGA 12196.
* Tateishi Saki (Hizen Tateisi Saki)
1973. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 10.5 m (35 ft) round concrete tower rising from a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is at right, Our Lighthouses has a page with excellent photos, Lighthouse-Japan.com has a closeup photo, another good photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the northern tip of Kabe Shima, about 4 km (2.5 mi) north of Yobuko. Site open, tower closed. JCG-5885; Admiralty M5265.8; NGA 12216.
Usu Shima
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white flash every 3 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) concrete post attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. Our Lighthouses has a page with good photos, another photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) north of Yobuko and 1.5 km (1 mi) east of Kabe Shima. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-836; JCG-5886; Admiralty M5266.2; NGA 12224.
Tateishi Saki Light
Tateishi Saki Light, Kabe Shima, Karatsu
Japanese Coast Guard Karatsu Office photo
* Yobuko Kō East Entrance North Breakwater
1974. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 9.5 m (31 ft) concrete post attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is red. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of the short north breakwater at the entrance to Yobuko harbor east of Kabe Shima. Accessible by walking the pier. JCG-5888; Admiralty M5266.35; NGA 12212.
Yobuko Kō East Entrance Detached Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); red flash every 3 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) concrete post attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is red. A photo is at right, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the east end of the detached breakwater at the entrance to Yobuko harbor east of Kabe Shima. Accessible only by boat. JCG-5889; Admiralty M5266.3; NGA 12208.
* Yobuko Kō East Entrance South Breakwater
1974. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); continuous green light with a more intense flash every 3 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) concrete post attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is at right, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of a breakwater on the south side of the entrance to Yobuko harbor east of Kabe Shima. Accessible by walking the pier. ARLHS JPN-2356; JCG-5890; Admiralty M5266.4; NGA 12204.
Taka Shima
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); three white flashes every 13 s. 11 m (36 ft) concrete post attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. No closeup photo available; Our Lighthouses has a page with two views, there's another distant view, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Taka Shima is a small island northeast of the entrance to the harbor of Yobuko. Located on the southern end of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. JCG-5887; Admiralty M5266; NGA 12228.
Hira Se
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white light, 5 s on, 5 s off. 8.5 m (28 ft) round concrete tower rising from a square 1-story concrete equipment room. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is available, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a small island about 3 km (2 mi) northeast of Kabe Shima. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2345; JCG-5880; Admiralty M5265; NGA 12220.
Yobuko Breakwater Lights
Yobuko East Entrance Detached Breakwater (left) and South Breakwater Lights,
Yobuko Kō; Japanese Coast Guard Karatsu Office photo

Minato Area Lighthouses
Mese Hana
1957. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); white flash every 4 s. 9 m (30 ft) concrete post attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. Our Lighthouses has a page with photos, Lighthouse-Japan.com has a closeup photo, another closeup is available, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a promontory of the mainland about 8 km (5 mi) north of Karatsu. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-345; JCG-5877; Admiralty M5269; NGA 12240.
* Kashiwa Shima (Komiya Saki)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white light occulting once every 4 s. 12 m (39 ft) concrete post centered on a round 1-story concrete base; adjoining 1-story concrete equipment building. A photo is available, the light is seen across the spit in Kazunori Seki's photo at right, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the tip of a narrow peninsula that provides a natural breakwater for the harbor of Kashiwa Shima, and island about 1 km (0.6 mi) off Mese Hana. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2351; JCG-5878; Admiralty M5269.02; NGA 12232.
* Kashiwa Shima Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red light occulting once every 6 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is red. The light is centered in Kazunori Seki's photo at right, and Bing has a distant satellite view of the breakwater. Located at the end of the south (main) breakwater of Kashiwa Shima. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2350; JCG-5879; Admiralty M5269.04; NGA 12236.
* Minatohama Kō
1965. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); continuous red light with a more intense flash every 5 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is red. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of the north (main) breakwater of Minatohama, a small port in the lee of Mese Hana. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2354; JCG-5875; Admiralty M5269.06; NGA 12244.
Kashiwa Shima Harbor
Kashiwa Shima harbor, Karatsu
Panoramio photo copyright Kazunori Seki; used by permission

Karatsu Bay Lighthouses
* Karatsu Tobo Kō No. 2 Breakwater
1964. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 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 building. Entire lighthouse is red. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of the east breakwater of Tobo harbor, a traditional small boat harbor in eastern Karatsu. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2365; JCG-5876; Admiralty M5269.5; NGA 12260.
Karatsu Breakwater West Head
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); two green flashes every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the northwest end of the detached main breakwater of Karatsu. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. JCG-5870; Admiralty M5269.24; NGA 12248.
Karatsu Breakwater East Head
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 7 s. 10 m (33 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is red. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the southeast end of the detached main breakwater of Karatsu. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. JCG-5874; Admiralty M5269.22; NGA 12252.
Karatsu (Karatsu Ōshima)
1951. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 7.5 m (25 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. The lighthouse is probably centered in Bing's satellite view. In view of the encroaching forest, it's hard to see how this light can be seen effectively from the sea. Karatsu Ōshima is a former island, now joined to the mainland by fill, on the east side of Karatsu harbor. Located on heights at the north end of Karatsu Ōshima. Accessible by a footpath; local knowledge required. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-230; JCG-5869; Admiralty M5269.2; NGA 12256.
Karatsu East Harbor West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 9.5 m (31 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is red. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the southeast end of the detached west breakwater of Karatsu's eastern harbor, southeast of Karatsu Ōshima. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. JCG-5868; Admiralty M5269.7; NGA 12264.
Karatsu East Harbor East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); two green flashes every 8 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the northwest end of the detached east breakwater of Karatsu's eastern harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. JCG-5867; Admiralty M5269.62; NGA 12268.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: | East: Fukuoka | South: Sasebo Area

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Posted June 25, 2007. Checked and revised March 9, 2013. Lighthouses: 27. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.