Lighthouses of South Korea: Incheon Area

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 South Korea's northwest coast, including the metropolitan city of Incheon (Inchon), Gwanghae County, and the western islands of Ongjin County. This coast faces west on the Yellow Sea. It is an intricate and rocky coast, with numerous islands of all sizes offshore. Although there are several famous and historic lighthouses on this coast, most of the more modern lights are not well known.

Following several recent government reorganizations, navigational aids in the ROK are now regulated by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF). In this area, the lights are maintained by the Incheon 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 .

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume M of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA

General Sources
KAAN Major National Lighthouses
KAAN is the Korean Association of Aids to Navigation. Small photos and basic data, all in Korean.

Palmido Light
Old and new Palmido Lights, Incheon Harbor
Port of Incheon photo

Incheon City Lighthouses

Yongyu and Palmido Lighthouses
Haerido (Haenyeodo, Haenyeo)
2005. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); green flash every 5 s. 18 m (56 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Access to the tower is by a stairway that spirals once around the base of the tower. A photo is at right, additional photos (first three on the page) are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the south point of Haerido, a small island off the south end of Yongyu island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4167.4; NGA 17960.1.
Baedongcho (Paedangcha)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 12.5 m (41 ft) round tower, painted black with one red horizontal band. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a shoal about 1 km (0.6 mi) off the southeastern point of Yongyu island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4167.3; NGA 17961.
* Palmido (1)
1903. Inactive since 2003. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Fog horn (one blast every 30 s). This lighthouse is in the foreground of the port authority's photo at the top of this page, a tourist agency page for the station has historical information, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view (the old tower is centered in this view, just below and to the right of the new lighthouse). This was Korea's first lighthouse, built when Japan pressured the Korean monarchy into opening its ports to trade. In the Korean War, U.S. special forces relit the lighthouse to guide the amphibious assault on Incheon on 15 September 1950. Located at the highest point of a small island about 10 km (6 mi) southwest of the Incheon waterfront.
* Palmido (2)
2003 (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 71 m (233 ft); four white flashes every 40 s. 26 m (85 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, mounted atop a striking vase-shaped concrete and marble building described as a "High-Tech Lighthouse and Exhibition Center." Lighthouse painted white; the lantern dome is gray metallic. Fog horn (one blast every 30 s). A 2009 photo is available, Markellos Mpakoulis has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Located northwest and downslope from the historic lighthouse. Accessible only by boat; ferry service is available. Site open, tower status unknown. Admiralty M4167; NGA 17960.
Haerido Light
Haerido Light, Incheon, March 2012
photo copyright plumgarden; used by permission

Incheon Waterfront Lighthouses
Incheon (Sangyong) East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); red flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round tapered concrete tower with a small lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is red. A photo and a second photo (more than halfway down the page) are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater, about 500 m (0.3 mi) southwest of the Sowolmido lighthouse (next entry). Site status unknown. Admiralty M4173.3; NGA 17965.5.
Sowolmido (Incheon South Breakwater Elbow)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); green flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. A 2012 photo, another photo, a third photo (1/4 the way down the page) and a distant view are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the elbow (bend) of the Solwolmido south breakwater. Site status unknown, possibly open; tower closed. Admiralty M4173.4; NGA 17967.
Incheon South Breakwater Head
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); three red flashes every 7 s. 9 m (30 ft) round tapered concrete tower, painted red. No closeup photo available; Tommy Lee has two distant views (1/3 the way down the page), a 2012 distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater, about 600 m (0.38 mi) north of the Sowolmido lighthouse. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4173.5; NGA 17967.5.
Incheon North Breakwater Head
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); three green flashes every 7 s. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal concrete tower, painted white. No closeup photo available; a 2012 distant view is available, Tommy Lee has two distant views (2/3 the way down the page), and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4173.52; NGA 17968.
Incheon Lock Gate South
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, centered on a square concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is red. A photo and a second photo of both lock gate lighthouses are available, J.H. Baek has a photo, Tommy Lee has two distant views (2/3 the way down the page), and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. NGA lists a square tower. Located at the end of a short breakwater north of the lock entrance to Incheon's inner harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4173.6; NGA 17968.5.
Incheon Lock Gate North (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); three green flashes every 7 s. 9 m (30 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, centered on a square concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white; at night it is floodlit in green. A photo is at right, a photo and a second photo of both lock gate lighthouses are available, a distant view is available, there's a photo of the lighthouse silhouetted against the sunset, and Google has a satellite view. NGA lists an octagonal tower. Located at the end of a short breakwater north of the lock entrance to Incheon's inner harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4173.8; NGA 17969.
Seoduam (Sodu Am)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 4 s. 16 m (52 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower mounted on a round 1-story concrete base. Entire lighthouse painted red. A distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a dangerous rock just off the Incheon waterfront. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4174; NGA 17971.5.
** Jagyakdo (Chagyak-To)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 58 m (190 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 20 m (66 ft) octagonal white concrete skeletal tower with observation room and gallery. A closeup photo (halfway down the page) and a 2012 view from the harbor are available, and Bing has a satellite view. Jagyakdo is an island just off the Incheon waterfront, north of Sodu Am. Located at the eastern end of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower probably open. Admiralty M4176; NGA 17972.
Sowilmido Lock Gate North Breakwater Light
Incheon Lock Gate North Light, April 2010
photo copyright 咿哥; used by permission

Ganghwa County Lighthouses

Ganghwado Lighthouses
Note: Ganghwado is a large island north of Incheon, separated from the mainland by a narrow channel and adjacent to the armistice line separating North and South Korea.
Chojiri
2006. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); green light every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with double gallery, painted green. A photo (not quite halfway down the page) is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a shoal on the west side of the channel separating Ganghwado from the mainland, about 600 m (0.4 mi) north of the southern bridge to the island. Accessible only by boat, but easy to see from shore. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4181.
Changhuri (Songmodo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red flash every 6 s. 19 m (62 ft) round tower, painted red. A closeup photo (1/3 the way down the page), a second photo (1/4 the way down the page), and a distant view are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a rock in the channel on the west side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4146.6; NGA 18076.5.
Gajinyeo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. Kim Cheol Bong's photo is at right, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located in the channel between Ganghwado and Seokmodo. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4147.
Jakeunguduldol
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); green flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted green. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Located in the channel between Ganghwado and Seokmodo. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4146.7.
Eoyujeong Hang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 52 m (171 ft); three white flashes every 7 s. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal white concrete tower with lantern and gallery; the lantern roof is green. A distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the south point of Seokmodo Island, marking the southern entrance to the 3 km (1.8 mi) wide channel between Ganghwado and Seokmodo. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4146.55.
Achado
2007. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); green flash every 6 s. 17 m (56 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with double gallery, mounted on a round concrete pier. Entire lighthouse is green. A photo (halfway down the page) is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located off the north side of Achado island, about 10 km (6 mi) southwest of Seokmodo. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4146.53.

Gajinyeo Light, Ganghwado, October 2014
photo copyright Kim Cheol Bong; used by permission
Soeyeo (Seoyeo, Soiyo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 14 m (46 ft) round tower, painted black with one red horizontal band. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a reef about 20 km (13 mi) southwest of Ganghwado. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4146.5; NGA 18077.

Western Ongjin County Lighthouses

Note: These islands lie well to the west of Incheon and closer to the coast of North Korea than to the rest of South Korea. They were held by Allied forces during the Korean War and remained under South Korean control following the armistice agreement. The Yeonpyeong islands lie off the south coast of North Korea's Hwanghae province. The Daecheong and Baengnyeong islands lie farther west, off the southwestern tip of North Korea. In recent years North Korea has asserted a claim over the waters surrounding these islands, and this has led to several military clashes.
Yeonpyeong Lighthouses
Sindo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 6 m (20 ft) round white concrete tower. No photo available, and the island is not seen in Google's satellite view. Sindo is a tiny island in the Yellow Sea about 45 km (28 mi) west of Incheon. Located on the highest point of the island. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4146; NGA 18076.
* Soyeonpyeong (Soyonpyong)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 39 m (128 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 6 m (20 ft) round white concrete tower. Several photos (2/3 the way down the page) and a closeup photo (1/3 the way down the page) are available, and Google has a satellite view. Soyeonpyeong is an island about 1.2 km (3/4 mi) in diameter, located in the Yellow Sea about 40 km (25 mi) south of Haeju and 5 km (3 mi) southeast of Yeonpyeong. The islands are accessible by ferry from Incheon. Located on the southeastern point of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4145; NGA 18080.
Nounseo (Nounso)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 16 m (52 ft) round stone or concrete tower, painted black with one red horizontal band. No photo available. Located on a shoal about 2 km (1.25 mi) south of the Soyeonpyong lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4145.5; NGA 18083.
Yeonpyeong (Yonpang) East Breakwater (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 6 s. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal red concrete tower. A photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Yeonpyeong is a triangular island about 4 km (2.5 mi) in diameter lying north of Soyeonpyeong. The island appears to be the site of a South Korean naval base. Located at the end of the east (main) breakwater of Yeonpyeong. Possibly accessible by walking the pier. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4137.4; NGA 18088.
Yeonpyeong (Yonpang) South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 6 s. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal white concrete tower. A closeup (halfway down the page) is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the south breakwater of the port on the southeast side of the island. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4137.2; NGA 18087.
* Yeonpyeongdo
1960. Inactive since 1973. 10 m (33 ft) 2-stage square concrete tower rising from a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo, a fine closeup, and another closeup (3/4 the way down the page), and Google has a satellite view. Located in a park on the south point of the island. Site open, tower closed. ex-Admiralty F4137.

East Breakwater Light, Yeonpyeong, March 2011
Naver.com Creative Commons photo by wooseokint1

Daecheong Lighthouse
*** Socheongdo (Sochungdo, Sochong Do) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1908). Active; focal plane 83 m (272 ft); four white flashes every 40 s. 18 m (59 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2-story staff building and visitor center. Lighthouse painted white. Fog siren (one blast every 45 s). A photo is at right, a portfolio of photos, several closeup photos (1/2-2/3 the way down the page) and additional photos (1/3 the way down the page) are available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. The original lighthouse was a 10 m (33 ft) round concrete tower. The lighthouse is described as housing a "marine culture hall." Socheongdo is a narrow island about 5 km (3 mi) long lying in the Yellow Sea at the extreme western point of South Korean sovereignty, about 30 km (20 mi) southwest of the North Korean mainland. The island is accessible by ferry from Incheon and tours are available. Located at the southwestern end of the island. Site and visitor center open, tower status unknown. ARLHS SKR-047; Admiralty M4136; NGA 18104.
Yonggipo Hang Outer Breakwater South End
2012. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is red. A photo of both breakwater lighthouses is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the detached outer breakwater of Yonggipo. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed, but there's a good view from ferries arriving at the island. Admiralty M4135.8; NGA 18103.
Yonggipo Hang Inner Breakwater
2012. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); green flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo and a photo of both breakwater lighthouses are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the south breakwater of Yonggipo. Site and tower closed, but there's a good view from ferries arriving at the island. Admiralty M4135.85; NGA 18103.1.
Socheongdo Light
Socheongdo Light
Ongjin County Tourist Bureau photo
* Yonggipo Hang
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower. A photo and a second photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located atop a promontory on the south side of Yonggipo harbor. Site open, and the tower appears to be open as well. ex-Admiralty F4144.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Western North Korea | South: South Ongjin Islands

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Posted February 4, 2008. Checked and revised December 6, 2016. Lighthouses: 29. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.