Lighthouses of South Korea: Busan Harbor

For most of its history, Korea was an independent kingdom, or at least an autonomous kingdom under Chinese influence. This came to an end in 1910, when Japan annexed all of Korea. At the end of World War II in 1945, the 38° parallel was established as the dividing line between U.S. and Soviet zones of occupation, and in 1948 separate civil administrations were established in the two halves of the country. The Korean War (1950-53) ended in a draw, with the armistice line falling close to the prewar 38° line. The Republic of Korea (ROK), commonly called South Korea, occupies the Korean peninsula south of the armistice line.

This page covers lighthouses of the northern half of the metropolitan area of Busan on South Korea's southeast coast. With a population of more than 3.5 million, Busan (formerly spelled Pusan) is Korea's second largest city and largest port. The city faces the Korea Strait, which connects the East Sea (commonly called the Sea of Japan in the West) to the East China Sea. It stands on an intricate and rocky coast, with numerous islands of all sizes offshore.

The Busan metropolitan area has an extraordinary number of lighthouses, nearly 100 in all. This page includes the lighthouses of the City's harbor and downtown area. There are separate pages for the northern and southern sections of the metropolitan area.

Following several recent government reorganizations, navigational aids in the ROK are now regulated by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF). Management of lighthouses in Busan is the responsibility of the Busan Regional Oceans and Fisheries Administration.

In Korean, the word for a lighthouse is deungdae (등대); dan is a cape, do is an island, and hang is a harbor. The Revised Romanization system for transliterating Korean into Latin characters has been official since 2000, although some place names may be more familiar in the spellings of older systems.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. KR numbers, where available, are from the Korean light list. 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
Port of Busan - Lighthouse Facilities
First of several pages with information about the major lighthouses.
KAAN Major National Lighthouses
KAAN is the Korean Association of Aids to Navigation. Small photos and basic data, all in Korean.
Kiso's Lighthouses - Korea
Photos posted by a Japanese lighthouse fan.
Lighthouses in South Korea
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - South Korea
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Online List of Lights - Korea
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.


Yeongdo Light, Yeongdo District, October 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Brian Yap

Nam-gu (South District) Lighthouses
Oryukdo (2)
1999 (station established 1937). Active; focal plane 53 m (174 ft); white flash every 10 s. 28 m (92 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 3-story concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. This remarkable lighthouse is perched atop a steep-sided rocky pinnacle. A photo by Erin Devenberg is at right, L. Matticus has a fine photo, Lee Iljoo has a photo, Martin Watson has a more distant view, a 2007 view from the sea is available, and Google has a satellite view. Oryukdo is a chain of five picturesque islets (or six at high tide) east of the entrance to Busan harbor. All vessels entering or leaving must pass close to the lighthouse, and this familiarity has made it a symbol of the city. Located on the southernmost islet, Deungdaeseom ("Lighthouse Islet"). Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed, but sightseeing boats and tours pass close to the lighthouse. ARLHS SKR-046; KR-2002; Admiralty M4374; NGA 16732.
Busan Middle (Oryukdo) Breakwater Northeast End (2?)
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 17 m (56 ft); yellow flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted yellow. The lighthouse is at the far left in Tom Wisdom's photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the north end of the detached middle breakwater in the outer entrance to Busan. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4356.7; NGA 16733.
Busan Middle (Oryukdo) Breakwater Southwest End (2?)
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 20 m (66 ft); red 2 s on, 2 s off. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. The lighthouse is on the right in Tom Wisdom's photo, a 2016 closeup and another photo are available, Paul Kim has a view from the harbor (note the Oryukdo lighthouse in the distance), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the south end of the detached middle breakwater in the outer entrance to Busan; the main channel passes between this light and the south outer breakwater light (see below). Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4356.6; NGA 16733.1.
Busan Inner Harbor North (Gamman Wharf) (1) (?)
1905. Inactive. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and double gallery. Lighthouse painted with red and black horizontal bands; lantern dome painted white. Formerly located at the end of a short pier marking the north side of the entrance to Busan's inner harbor. Sometime in late 2008 or 2009 the lighthouse was removed and relocated to a park; we do not know its present location. Site open, tower closed.
Oryukdo Light
Oryukdo Light, Busan, October 2011
U.S. Navy/Wikimedia public domain photo
by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Erin Devenberg
#Busan Inner Harbor North (Gamman Wharf) (2) (?)
Date unknown. Inactive since 2007. 20 m (66 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. The Admiralty reported this light discontinued in January 2008. It was located in the water about 40 m (130 ft) southwest of the original lighthouse. The Busan North Harbor Bridge, seen in Google's satellite view, now crosses this location. Site open, tower closed. ex-Admiralty M4358; ex-NGA 16740.1.
Gamman Wharf (3)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); two red flashes every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) round concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is red. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Located at the end of a commercial pier just north of the North Harbor Bridge. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4359; NGA 16748.5.

Dong-gu (East District) Lighthouses
*** Busan (Yongdusan) Tower
2010 (tower built 1973). Active; focal plane 180 m (591 ft); white flash every 15 s visible only along the harbor approaches from the east and south. 119 m (390 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower topped by an octagonal observation room. Wikimedia has numerous photos, Lightphotos.net has a night time photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. In November 2009 the Busan Port Office announced plans to install a powerful directional light atop the tower. A very popular tourist attraction, the tower provides spectacular views of the city and harbor. Located on a low hilltop in Yongdusan Park in downtown Busan. Site and tower open. Admiralty M4371.
Busan Hang Approach Range Front
2013. Active; focal plane 365 m (1198 ft); continuous green light. 42 m (138 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. Ki-hyuk Kim has a photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the mountainside northwest of Busan. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4365.6.
Busan Hang Approach Range Rear
2013. Active; focal plane 460 m (1509 ft); continuous green light. 60 m (197 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located 991 m (0.61 mi) northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4365.61.

Jung-gu (Central District) Lighthouse
Busan Buk Hang North Breakwater
2014. Active; light characteristics not yet known. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round white concrete tower. Google has a photo and a satellite view. Located at the north end of the pier at downtown Busan. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4365.51.

Yeongdo District Lighthouses
Note: Yeongdo is an island about 8 km (5 mi) long and up to 3.5 km (2 mi) wide. The island separates the city's main harbor on the north from the south harbor.
Deungmudari (2)
Date unknown (station established 1911). Active; focal plane 12m (39 ft); quick-flashing white light. 13 m (46 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Upper half of the lighthouse painted black, lower half yellow. The tower is right of center in K. Nishiyama's photo of the harbor bridge construction, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a shoal in the inner harbor of Busan about 500 m (0.4 mi) west of the south breakwater lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4360; NGA 16748.
Busan Harbor Bridge Middle Pier (Inner Harbor South, South Breakwater)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); green flash every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted yellow. Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo at right shows the light painted white before the building of the bridge, it is still white in Bohao Zhao's May 2013 photo, and Google has a satellite view that shows the lighthouse as it appears now. Located at the outer end of a detached breakwater, now attached to the bridge pier, at the entrance to the inner harbor of Busan. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4361; NGA 16740.2.
Bukbin
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round skeletal tower with gallery and an open lantern structure. Lighthouse painted white. Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located at the end of an L-shaped breakwater on the south side of Busan harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4356.58; NGA 16739.
Busan Inner Harbor South Breakwater Light
Inner Harbor South Breakwater Light, Busan
photo copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger
used by permission
Haegyeong
2008. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); green flash every 4 s. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, formerly with lantern and gallery, painted white. A 2008 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. A distant Google street view shows that the lantern has been removed. Located at the end of the pier of the cruise ship terminal on the south side of Busan harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4356.55; NGA 16738.
Busan South Outer (Jodo) Breakwater East End
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); green light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 13 m (46 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A 2016 closeup photo is available, D. Kovtyukh has a photo (a portion of this photo is at right), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the east end of the detached breakwater on the southwest side of the outer entrance to Busan. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4356.4; NGA 16734.
Busan South Outer (Jodo) Breakwater West End
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); yellow flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted yellow. There's a distant view in D. Kovtyukh's photo of the east end light (zoom in for enlargement), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the west end of the detached breakwater on the southwest side of the outer entrance to Busan. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4356.5; NGA 16735.
Dongsandong (Tongsandong) Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A distant view from the sea is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the breakwater of a small basin about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southwest of the Busan harbor entrance. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4356.2; NGA 16737.
Busan Jodo Breakwater East End Light
Jodo Breakwater East End Light, Busan, September 2008
Panoramio photo copyright D. Kovtyukh; used by permission
* Yeongdo (Yong Do, Taejongdo, Mokdo) (1) (lantern)
1906. Inactive since 2004. 7 m (23 ft) round lantern mounted on a square 1-story brick base. Lantern painted white; the keeper's cottage is unpainted red brick. Brian Yap's photo appears at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located about 150 m (500 ft) west of the modern lighthouse. Site open, tower closed.
**** Yeongdo (Yong Do, Taejongdae, Mokdo) (2)
2004 (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 82 m (269 ft); three white flashes every 18 s. Approx. 30 m (89 ft) round cylindrical steel tower with lantern and a large circular observation deck. Lighthouse painted white, lantern dome gray. Fog siren (blast every 45 s). Brian Yap has the photo at the top of this page, Michael Mellinger has a 2008 photo, Lightphotos.net has a January 2013 photo, a view from the sea is available, and Google has a satellite view and Fidel Guico's street view. This modern lighthouse is one of Busan's best known tourist attractions. The station includes a natural history museum, lighthouse museum, and several interesting monuments and sculptures. The port authority describes it as an "open maritime cultural space." Yeongdo is an island about 8 km (5 mi) long and 4 km (2.5 mi wide) lying on the south side of Busan's main harbor. The lighthouse stands in a large park, Taejongdae Park, at the southeastern end of the island, where it serves as the port's landfall light. Site open, museum and observation deck open daily. Site manager: Port of Busan. ARLHS SKR-029; KR 410-2004; Admiralty M4356; NGA 16728.
Saengdo (Sangdo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 24 m (79 ft) round concrete tower, painted black with one red horizontal band. A closeup is available, Kristin Licitis has a nice view, Lightphotos.net has a very distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located atop a small island about 2 km (1.2 mi) south of the Yeongdo lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4355.9; NGA 16727.8.
 


1906 Yeongdo Light, Yeongdo District, October 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Brian Yap

Busan South Inner Harbor Entrance East Breakwater (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); red flash every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. A 2008 photo and a 2010 closeup are available, Kim Cheol Hwan has a 2011 photo, another photo is available, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. The South Inner Harbor is the harbor on the west side of Yeongdo. Located at the end of the short east breakwater at the entrance to the harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4368; NGA 16756.

Seo-gu (West District) Lighthouses
Busan South Inner Harbor Entrance West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A 2008 photo is available, and Google has a distant street view and a satellite view. Located at the end of the short west breakwater, at the entrance to the harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4366; NGA 16752.
Busan South Harbor (Songdo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); three quick white flashes every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Upper half of the lighthouse painted black, lower half yellow. Moon Kee Cheong's photo is at right, Andrew Chung has a good photo, Moon Kee Cheong has a photo, a 2015 photo and a 2008 photo are available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located close offshore on the west side of the south entrance to Busan harbor. Accessible only by boat but easily seen from shore. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4369.45; NGA 16757.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Busan South Light
Busan South Harbor Light, Seo District, November 2008
Panoramio photo copyright Moon Kee Cheong (Moongs™)
used by permission

Adjoining pages: North: Northern Busan | South: Southern Busan

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Posted December 4, 2007. Checked and revised August 6, 2017. Lighthouses: 23. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.