Lighthouses of Japan: Oki Islands

The Oki Islands are located in the Sea of Japan 50-80 km (30-50 mi) north of Matsue, Shimane. The largest island, Dōgo, is roughly circular with a diameter of about 20 km (13 mi). The other three inhabited islands, Nishinoshima, Nakanoshima, and Chiburishima, are closely grouped to the southwest of Dōgo. Once a place of exile for deposed emperors, the islands are now a national park and a popular tourist destination. Okinoshima, the largest town in the islands, has regular air service from Ōsaka, and all the major islands of the group are accessible by ferry from Matsue. The islands are governed as the Oki District of Shimane Prefecture.

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. On Honshū there is at least one Coast Guard Section Office in each prefecture, often two or more. The Oki Islands lights are maintained by the Coast Guard office at Sakai, on the Shimane mainland.

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 - Shimane
A comprehensive Japanese-language site.
Kiso's Lighthouses
This site has many excellent photos of Japanese lighthouses.
Misty's Japanese Lighthouse Tour - Shimane
Photos and a few notes for lighthouses in all parts of the country.
Eighth Region Lighthouses
Photos and data for 13 of the major lighthouses of the Eighth Coast Guard Region, including 8 in Shimane.
Oki Lighthouses
This all-Japanese site has photos of the major lighthouses of the Oki Islands.
Photos by Hamtaro - Lighthouses
A portfolio of Oki Islands lighthouse photos; two are shown on this page.

Saigō Misaki Light
Saigō Misaki Light, Dōgo, May 2009
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Shine (しいね)

Chiburishima Lighthouse
* Chiburi (Tihuri) Shima
1953. Active; focal plane 158 m (518 ft); flash every 10 s, alternately red and white. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from one end of a 1-story equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. There's another page for the lighthouse, a closeup, a second closeup, and an aerial photo are available, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. This is the southernmost light of the islands. Located atop Mount Takabirayama, a heavily forested promontory at the southeastern corner of Chiburishima. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-643; JCG-0851; Admiralty M7323; NGA 2092.
Chibu (Tibu) Kō
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); one short and one long red flash every 9 s. 9 m (30 ft) round concrete tower mounted on a square concrete pier. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a shoal on the east side of the entrance to Chibu harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. JCG-0852; Admiralty M7323.2; NGA 2096.
* Mikoshi Hana (Mikoshibana)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; continuous white light. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) semielliptical concrete tower with gallery; the light is shown through a window. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. This lighthouse shines a spotlight on a nearby reef. Located on a promontory about 3 km (1.8 mi) southwest of Chiburi harbor. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. JCG-0853.

Nishinoshima Lighthouses
Note: Nishinoshima has a very irregular shape, with two halves connected by a narrow isthmus at Uragō. A canal has been cut through the isthmus.
Akanada Hana
1958. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 4 s. 7 m (23 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo and an aerial view are available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on the southernmost point of Nishinoshima, marking the narrow channel between that island and Chiburishima. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-011; JCG-0856; Admiralty M7323.5; NGA 2104.
* Mitsabe (Mitabe) Misaki
1961. Active; focal plane 125 m (410 ft); white flash every 12 s. 10 m (33 ft) 3-story rectangular cylindrical concrete tower with a semicircular lantern room and gallery on the top floor, attached to a 1-story concrete keeper's cottage. Entire lighthouse is white. A Coast Guard photo is at right, a closeup, another photo, and an aerial photo are available, and Google has a distant satellite view. This is the westernmost light of the islands. Located at the end of a sharp wooded peninsula about 800 m (1/2 mi) west of the village of Mitsabe. Accessible by hiking trail from the village. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-361; JCG-0858; Admiralty M7323.7; NGA 2112.
* Uragō Biden Kō
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red light, 3 s on, 1 s off. 9.5 m (31 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment room. Entire lighthouse is red. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater protecting the appraoch to the northern end of the canal at Uragō. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. JCG-0862; Admiralty M7323.4; NGA 2116.
Mitsabe Misaki Light
Mitsabe Misaki Light, Nishinoshima
Japanese Coast Guard photo
* Uragō Benten Kō
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 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 room. Entire lighthouse is red. A small photo is available, and Google has a fuzzy satellite view of the location. Located at the end of the east breakwater of Uragō's traditional harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. JCG-0860; Admiralty M7323.26; NGA 2120.
Mugiyama Hana
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); red flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) round, hour-glass-shaped concrete tower with gallery. Entire lighthouse painted red. Google has a distant satellite view. This lighthouses guides vessels into a bay on the south side of Nishinoshima leading to Uragō harbor. Located on a steep promontory on the east side of the entrance to the bay. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-377; JCG-0863; Admiralty M7323.6; NGA 2128.

Nakanoshima Lighthouses
Matsuga Saki (Oki Matsuga Saki, Matuga Saki)
1975. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) round concrete tower with gallery, mounted on a square concrete pier. Entire lighthouse is white. Another page for the lighthouse and a view from the sea are available, and Google has a distant satellite view. This lighthouse is at the northwestern point of Nakanoshima, marking the narrow channel between Nakanoshima and Nishinoshima. Located at the water's edge, at the extreme point of the cape. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-480; JCG-0864; NGA 2144.
Kamo Shima
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two white lights every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) round tower with gallery, painted black with one red horizontal band. A view from the sea (halfway down the page, #0865) is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. The area around this light features numerous rock formations looming above the water. Located on a reef off the north coast of Nakanoshima, guiding vessels in the strait separating Nakanoshima from Nishinoshima. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M7321.77; JCG-0865; NGA 2148.
Komori Shima
1954. Active; focal plane 62 m (203 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 7 m (23 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower, rising from one end of a 1-story concrete equipment house. Entire lighthouse is white. Another page for the lighthouse, a view from the sea and an aerial photo are available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located atop a huge rock about 1200 m (3/4 mi) off the northern tip of Nakanoshima, marking the northern entrance to the passage between Ama and Nishinoshima. Probably accessible only by helicopter. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-286; JCG-0866; Admiralty M7321.7; NGA 2152.
Noda Saki
1976. Active; focal plane 80 m (262 ft); white flash every 5 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) semicircular cylindrical concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is at right, an aerial photo is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located atop a promontory at the northeastern tip of Nakanoshima on the north side of the entrance to the harbor of Oki Toyoda. Site status unknown. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-425; JCG-0867; Admiralty M7321.74; NGA 2164.
Chichii (Titii) Misaki
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 10 m (33 ft) concrete tower, painted white with one red horizontal band. An aerial photo and a view from the sea (fifth photo on the page) are available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the easternmost point of Nakanoshima, which is at the end of a long, narrow peninsula. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-649; JCG-0870; Admiralty M7321.9; NGA 2160.
* Chichii Kō
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); green flash every 4 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment room. Entire lighthouse is white. No photo available, but Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Chichii harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. JCG-0871; Admiralty M7321.94; NGA 2156.
Takada Hana
1950. Active; focal plane 105 m (346 ft); white flash every 3 s. 7 m (23 ft) round concrete tower, rising from one end of a 1-story concrete equipment house. Entire lighthouse is white. An aerial photo is available, and Google has a very distant satellite view. Located atop a steep promontory at the southeastern point of Nakanoshima. Site status unknown; it may be possible to reach this site by hiking trails. ARLHS JPN-613; JCG-0872; Admiralty M7322; NGA 2136.
Noda Saki Light
Noda Saki Light, Nakanoshima, May 2011
Panoramio photo copyright Hamtaro (ハム太郎)
permission requested
* Saki Kō
Date unknown. 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 room. Entire lighthouse is white. A distant view is available, and Google has a fuzzy satellite view of the location. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Saki harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. JCG-0873; Admiralty M7322.6; NGA 2132.
* Kiroga Saki
1974. Active; focal plane 41 m (134 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower attached to a small concrete equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is white. A 2013 photo, an aerial photo, a closeup, and a 2009 photo are available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on a promontory at the southernmost tip of Nakanoshima. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-261; JCG-0874; Admiralty M7322.8; NGA 2140.

Dōgo Lighthouses
Note: Largest of the Oki Islands, Dōgo is roughly circular with a diameter of about 18 km (11 mi) and a population of about 15,000.
Shishiki (Shizika, Sizika, Shijika) Shima
1957. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) round concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. An aerial photo is available, Hamtaro has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island just off the southwestern coast of Dōgo, directly opposite Nakanoshima. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-591; JCG-0875; Admiralty M7319.5; NGA 2076.
Oki Shaguri (Syaguri)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) round concrete tower with gallery. NGA describes the tower as black with a red horizontal band, but a May 2010 photo (halfway down the page) shows it all white. Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a reef in the center of the entrance to Tsudo harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. JCG-0876; Admiralty M7319.7; NGA 2072.
Tsuma (Tuma) Onbe Shima
1972. Active; focal plane 100 m (328 ft); continuous white light. 6 m (20 ft) elliptical cylindrical concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. Hamtaro has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a headland north of the entrance to the harbor of Tsuma, a settlement on the southwest coast of Dōgo. Site status unknown. JCG-0878.
* Naku (Nagu) Saki
1963. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo and an aerial photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory on the west coast of Dōgo, near the village of Naku. Accessible by road and a short hiking trail (described as a 10-minute walk). Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-401; JCG-0879; Admiralty M7321.4; NGA 2084.
* Mi Saki (Hukuura Saki)
1971. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); white flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round hourglass-shaped concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. Hamtaro has a closeup photo, an aerial photo is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a promontory on the south side of the entrance to the harbor of Goka, on the northwest coast of Dōgo. Accessible by a hike of about 3 km (2 mi) round trip. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-479; JCG-0880; Admiralty M7321.3; NGA 2088.
Okino Shima
1980. Active; focal plane 82 m (269 ft); white flash every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) round concrete tower with gallery, attached to a 1-story concrete equipment house. Entire lighthouse is white. This light marks the northernmost point of the Oki Islands. There is a view from near the Shiroshima Saki lighthouse (next entry) in which this light is barely visible atop the most distant island. An aerial photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small, steep island just off the north coast of Dōgo. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-482; JCG-0881; Admiralty M7321.2; NGA 2032.
* Shiroshima Saki (Oki Syoto)
1956. Active; focal plane 258 m (846 ft); white flash every 15 s. 16 m (52 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is at right, another closeup photo is available, also another photo (next to last photo on the page), and Google has a satellite view. This powerful light, one of the highest lighthouses in Asia, has a range of 69.5 km (43 mi). The lighthouse was renovated in 1981, and the keeper's house was converted into a radio direction finding station. Located on a summit at the northern tip of Dōgo. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-585; JCG-0882; Admiralty M7321.25; NGA 2036.
Nakamura Kō
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); two red flashes every 6 s. 11 m (36 ft) round concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is red. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a detached breakwater at the entrance to Nakamura, a fishing harbor about 5 km (3 mi) southeast of Shiroshima Saki. Accessible only by boat. JCG-0883; Admiralty M7321.16; NGA 2040.
* Sakiyama Misaki
1967. Active; focal plane 94 m (308 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off; also a continuous white spotlight (JCG-0885) illuminates a nearby reef. 10 m (33 ft) round hourglass-shaped concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. Hamtaro has a closeup, an aerial photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory at the entrance to the harbor of Fuse on the northeast coast of Dōgo. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-534; JCG-0884; Admiralty M7321.14; NGA 2044.
Kuroshima Saki
1961. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); three white flashes every 13 s; a continuous white spotlight (JCG-0887; added in 1987) is used illuminate Kabi Shima, a nearby skerry. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with a concrete lantern room at the top. Entire lighthouse is white. Hamtaro has a closeup photo, an aerial photo and a distant view are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the easternmost point of Dōgo. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-310; JCG-0886; Admiralty M7321.1; NGA 2048.
Shiroshima Saki Light
Shiroshima Saki Light, Dōgo, February 2011
Panoramio photo copyright Hamtaro (ハム太郎); permission requested
Ikejiri (Ikeziri) Saki
1976. Active; focal plane 108 m (354 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) semicircular cylindrical white concrete tower attached to a small equipment shelter. Hamtaro has a closeup photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located atop a mountainous headland on the north side of the entrance to Saigō harbor, on the southeast side of the island. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-689; JCG-0888; Admiralty M7320.8; NGA 2052.
Hime Shima
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); one short and one long red flash every 8 s. 11 m (36 ft) round concrete tower with double gallery and a strongly conical base, mounted on a concrete pier. Entire lighthouse is red. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the narrow entrance to Saigō harbor. Accessible only by boat; there's a good view from ferries arriving from the mainland. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-1573; JCG-0892; Admiralty M7320.2; NGA 2056.
Saigō Wan Breakwater East End
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9.5 m (31 ft); green flash every 3 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) concrete post attached to a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is white. Google has a satellite view. Located at the northeast end of the detached breakwater of Saigō harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-523; JCG-0889; Admiralty M7320.4; NGA 2060.
Saigō Wan Breakwater West End
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); three red flashes every 10 s. 10.5 m (34 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is red. Google has a satellite view. Located at the southwest end of the detached breakwater of Saigō harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. JCG-0890.
* Saigō Misaki (Shiro Saki)
1921. Active; focal plane 109 m (358 ft); two white flashes every 30 s. 11 m (36 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, centered on a 1-story concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is at the top of this page, Hamtaro has a fine closeup, Shimane Prefecture also has a photo (near the bottom of the page), an aerial photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Prior to 1950 this was the only lighthouse in the Oki Islands. Located at the southeastern tip of Dōgo. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-524; JCG-0893; Admiralty M7320; NGA 2064.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining page: South: Shimane

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Posted February 28, 2007. Checked and revised December 8, 2013. Lighthouses: 32. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.