Lighthouses of Japan: Rishiri and Rebun, Hokkaidō

Rishiri and Rebun are volcanic islands in the Sea of Japan a few miles west of the northwestern coast of Hokkaidō, the northernmost of the four main islands of Japan.The two islands are very scenic and have become popular vacation destinations. Administratively, they are governed as separate districts of Sōya subprefecture, which also includes the Wakkanai area of the mainland of Hokkaidō.

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. Rishiri and Rebun lighthouses are the responsibility of the Wakkanai Coast Guard Office.

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. JP 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; mostly in Japanese but the page titles are in English.
Lighthouse of Japan - Hokkaidō
Another comprehensive site, with photos and accounts in Japanese.
Misty's Japanese Lighthouse Tour - Hokkaidō
Photos and brief notes in English.
Lighthouse of Japan - Hokkaidō
Another site with excellent photos and text in Japanese.
Kiso's Lighthouses - Hokkaidō
This site has many excellent photos of Japanese lighthouses.

Ishi Saki Light
Ishi Saki (Ishizaki) Light, Rishirifuji, October 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by shirokazan

Rishiri District Lighthouses

Note: Rishiri is an island about 16 km (10 mi) off the northwestern tip of Hokkaidō. The island, formed by an extinct volcano, is roughly circular with a diameter of about 20 km (12.5 mi). Together with nearby Rebun, it is part of the Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park. The island is a popular tourist destination accessible by air from Wakkanai or by ferry from Wakkanai or Otaru.
* Oshidomari (Peshi Misaki)
Date unknown (station established 1892). Active; focal plane 76 m (249 ft); white flash every 15 s. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small equipment room. Entire lighthouse painted white. The lighthouse is at upper right in the photo at right, Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page with good photos, Misty's Tour has photos, a 2008 photo and a 2009 photo are available, and Google has a distant satellite view. The photo at right and another photo show how the lighthouse is perched atop a steep cliff above the port of Oshidomari, the principal port of Rishiri. Accessible by a steep road up the mountain. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-494; JP-0525; Admiralty M6915; NGA 1372.
Oshidomari Kō
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); two red flashes every 6 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. A photo is at right, a 2009 sunrise photo is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. The lighthouse is at the lower left in Kazunori Seki's photo of the picturesque harbor. Located at the end of the detached north outer breakwater at Oshidomari. ARLHS JPN-945; JP-0526.1; Admiralty M6917; NGA 1378.
* Ishi Saki (Ishizaki)
1943. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); flash every 20 s, alternately white and red. 32 m (105 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small equipment room. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. A photo is at the top of this page, Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page with excellent photos, Misty's Tour has two fine photos, a 2008 photo is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. This lighthouse is located at the eastern point of the island, marking the passage between Rishiri and the mainland of Hokkaidō. Accessible by road and a short walk. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-178; JP-0537; Admiralty M6928; NGA 1380.
* Senpōshi Saki
1971. Active; focal plane 29 m (85 ft); white flash every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small equipment room. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page for the lighthouse, Misty's Tour has additional photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the southern point of the island. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-551; JP-0535; Admiralty M6927; NGA 1388.
* Senpōshi Kō South Breakwater
Date unknown (station established 1927). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater at Senpōshi Kō, about 3 km (1.8 mi) northwest of Senpōshi Saki. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-966; JP-0534; Admiralty M6925; NGA 1396.
Oshidomari Lighthouses
Oshidomari Lighthouses, Rishirifuji, August 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by jsteph
* Senpōshi Kō Outer Breakwater
Date unknown (station established 1927). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Google has a satellite view. NGA calls this the "east" breakwater light, which makes no sense. Located at the end of the detached west outer breakwater at Senpōshi Kō, about 3 km (1.8 mi) northwest of Senpōshi Saki. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-967; JP-0533; Admiralty M6926; NGA 1392.
* Kutsugata (Kutugata) Saki
1952. Active; focal plane 24 m (78 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Lighthouse-Japan.com has a good page for the lighthouse, Misty's Tour has good photos, a distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the tip of a sharp promontory marking the westernmost tip of Rishiri. Accessible by road or a short walk from the Katsugata waterfront. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-900; JP-0532; Admiralty M6924; NGA 1400.
Kutsugata Kō Outer Breakwater (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1927). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 11 m (36 ft) round hourglass-shaped concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the outer breakwater of Kutsugata, a short distance north of Kutsugata lighthouse. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2631; JP-0531; Admiralty M6923; NGA 1408.
Kutsugata Kō West Breakwater
1997. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the older, now inner, breakwater of Kutsugata, a short distance north of Kutsugata lighthouse. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-2631; JP-0531.1; Admiralty M6923.6; NGA 1404.
* Shinminato Kō
1972. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater at Shinminato, a port on the northwestern coast of Rishiri. Site status unknown. JP-0529; Admiralty M6922.4; NGA 1412.
* Sakachama (Sakaehama) Saki
1966. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); three white flashes every 13 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page with several photos, Misty's Tour has a closeup photo, Kazuhiro Nakamura has a good 2008 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located beside the coastal highway on the northwestern corner of the island, where it marks the 8 km (5 mi) wide passage between Rishiri and Rebun. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-526; JP-0528; Admiralty M6922; NGA 1416.
Motodomari (Hondomari) Kō North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); green flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A winter photo is at right (it shows Rebun Island in the background), another wintry photo is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the detached outer breakwater at Motodomari, on the northwestern coast of the island near the airport. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-913; JP-0527; Admiralty M6919; NGA 1420.

Motodomari North Breakwater Light
Motodomari Kō Light, Rishirifuji, January 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by double-h

Rebun District Lighthouses

Note: Rebun is an island in the Sea of Japan off the northwestern tip of Hokkaidō and about 8 km (5 mi) northwest of Rishiri. Unlike Rishiri, Rebun is long and narrrow, measuring 29 km (18 mi) north to south but only 8 km (5 mi) east to west. A popular hiking trail called the "Eight Hour Walk" runs the length of the scenic island, which is part of the Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park. The island is accessible by ferry from Wakkanai or Otaru.
* Kahuka (Kafuka, Kaishomai)
1937. Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); white flash every 4 s. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Misty's Tour has a good closeup, the Lighthouses of Japan site also has a closeup, and Google has a satellite view. Kahuka is the principal port of Rebun. Located on a bluff above the harbor, near the Rebun Elementary School, in Kahuka. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-208; JP-0519; Admiralty M6910; NGA 1436.
Kahuka (Kafuka) Kō North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); red flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the detached north breakwater at Kahuka. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. JP-0521; Admiralty M6910.7; NGA 1440.
* Hunbe (Funbe)
1970. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); white light occulting once every 8 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page with excellent photos, Misty's Tour has two good photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the southern tip of Rebun, about 4 km (2.5 mi) south of Kahuka. Accessible by a short walk from the coastal highway. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-144; JP-0522; Admiralty M6909; NGA 1424.
Motochi (Mototi)
1954. Active; focal plane 211 m (692 ft); white flash every 10 s. 10 m (33 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with a black horizontal band. A photo by Steven Widdows is at right, Diego Molla has a similar photo, Lighthouse-Japan.com has a page with good photos, Misty's Tour has a good closeup, Steph Lewis-Boegeman also has a photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. This unusually high light is a landfall light for Rebun. Located atop a spectacular promontory at the southwestern corner of Rebun, about 2 km (1.25 mi) northwest of the Hunbe Light. Accessible by hiking trails. ARLHS JPN-373; JP-0523; Admiralty M6908; NGA 1428.
Motochi (Mototi) Kō
1968. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); continuous red light with a more intense flash every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) round hourglass-shaped concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Diego Molla has a photo of the harbor, taken from the Motochi lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a detached breakwater marking the entrance to Motochi Kō, a port at the western coast of Rebun. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-915; JP-0524; Admiralty M6908.4; NGA 1432.
Teppu Kō
1994. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater for Teppu, a port on the northwestern coast of Rebun. Site status unknown. JP-0524.5; Admiralty M6914; NGA 1433.
Todo Shima
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 53 m (174 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands. A closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse is located atop a small island off the northern tip of Rebun. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JPN-659; JP-0513; Admiralty M6913; NGA 1452.
Mototi Light
Motochi Light looking toward Mount Rishiri, May 2010
Flickr photo copyright Steven Widdows; used by permission
Sukoton Kō (2)
2007 (station established 1966). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater for Sukoton, a port at the northwestern tip of Rebun. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-982; JP-0514; Admiralty M6912.4; NGA 1464.
Funadomari Kō
1972. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Google has a satellite view. The identification of this light by ARLHS and NGA as "Todo Shima North Breakwater" is an error. Located at the end of the main breakwater for Funadomari, a port at the northeastern tip of Rebun. Site status unknown. ARLHS JPN-993; JP-0515; Admiralty M6911.6; NGA 1456.
* Kanedano Misaki (Kaneda No Misaki)
1953. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); two white flashes every 8 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Misty's Tour has a good closeup, the Lighthouses of Japan site has another closeup, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a sharp promontory at the northeastern corner of Rebun, near the island's airport. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-226; JP-0516; Admiralty M6912; NGA 1460.
* Uedomari Saki
1965. Inactive since 2012. 10 m (33 ft) concrete post centered on a square 1-story concrete equipment room. The lighthouse is white with one red horizontal band around the post. Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory about 5 km (3 mi) southeast of Kanedano Misaki. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-708; ex-JP-0517; ex-Admiralty M6911.4; NGA 1468.
* Nairo Kō (2)
2007 (station established 1991). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red light occulting once every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the north breakwater at Nairo, a small port on the central east coast of Rebun. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS JPN-922; JP-0517.4; Admiralty M6911.2.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Northern Hokkaidō | South: Northwestern Hokkaidō

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted June 8, 2006. Checked and revised April 16, 2013. Lighthouses: 24. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.