Lighthouses of South Korea: Ulleungdo and Dokdo

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 Ulleungdo and Dokdo, which are volcanic islands located in the East Sea (as it is called in Korea) or the Sea of Japan (its traditional name in the West). Ulleungdo is a well-populated island that has always been part of Korea, while Dokdo is a formerly uninhabited island that is administered by Korea but also claimed by Japan. Both islands are attached to the South Korean province of Gyeongsangbuk (North Gyeongsang).

Following several recent government reorganizations, navigational aids in the ROK are now regulated by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MOMAF). Management of lighthouses in North Gyeongsang is the responsibility of the Pohang Regional Maritime Affairs and Port Administration. In Korean, the word for a lighthouse is donghae (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 List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
KAAN Major Lighthouse Information
KAAN is the Korean Association of Aids to Navigation. Click on the map for information concerning each province, and then scroll down for small photos. All the data is in Korean. An English version of the page has the names of the lighthouses, but no photos.
Pohang Region Lighthouses
Lighthouse information posted by the Pohang MLTM office.

Dokdo Light
Dokdo Light
Korean Coast Guard photo

Ulleungdo Lighthouses

Note: Ulleungdo (Ullung Do) is a volcanic island about 120 km (75 mi) east of the Korean Peninsula. The rugged, roughly circular island is about 10 km (6 mi) in diameter and has a population of about 10,000. Dodong (or Jeodong), on the east coast of the island, is the principal port. There is no airport, but the island is accessible by ferry from Gangneung, Mukho, and Pohang. Remote but very scenic, it is a popular destination for tourists. Administratively, the island is a county of North Gyeongsang Province.
Ulleung Town (East Coast) Lighthouses
Cheongdo
2009. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) round tower, painted black with one red horizontal band. A very distant view (light to the right of the red breakwater lighthouse) is available, and the light is too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located on a reef about 1.2 km (3/4 mi) northeast of the entrance to Jeodong harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4445.6.
Jeodong North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 5 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. A closeup is available, a view from the south breakwater is available, there's a view of both lights from the harbor (third photo on the page), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the north breakwater of Jeodong. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4445.7; NGA 16524.
* Jeodong South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); green flash every 5 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. Myung-hoon Kang has a photo, there's a view of both lights from the harbor (third photo on the page), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Jeodong. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4445.8; NGA 16528.
* Haengnam (Dodong, Hyongnangap) (2)
1979. Inactive since 2006. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal white concrete tower with lantern and gallery. A photo is at right, and in Google's satellite view it appears that this tower remains standing just behind the more recent tower. It is not known why this lighthouse was replaced.
* Haengnam (Dodong, Hyongnangap) (3)
2006 (station established 1954). Active; focal plane 108 m (354 ft); white flash every 14 s. 9 m (30 ft) round white concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Fog horn (blast every 60 s). A 2008 photo and a closeup are available, Myoung Su Seo's view from the sea shows the spectacular site, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is accessible by a picturesque walkway cut into the rocky cliffs from Jeodong to the village of Haengnam. Located on a sharp promontory about 2 km (1.25 mi) south of Jeodong. Site open, tower status unknown. Admiralty M4446.2; NGA 16520.
Haengnam Light
1979 Haengnam Light
MLTM photo
Sadong Hang South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 4 s. 8 m (26 ft) round white concrete tower with a "hoop skirt" base, lantern, and gallery. A photo, a view from the sea, is available, and a view from the mountainside above the harbor are available, but Google has only a very distant satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Sadong, a small port on the east side of the southern tip of the island. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4445.3.
* Ganryeong Mal (Kanryong Mal, Kanyong Mal, Gadubong) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with gallery. A closeup, a small photo, and a view from the sea are available, but Google's satellite view has no detail in this area. The original light here (still listed by NGA 2009) was a 5 m (17 ft) round tower. Located on the southern tip of Ulleongdo. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4445; NGA 16544.

Seo (South) Township Lighthouses
Namyang Hang
2013. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); green flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round white concrete tower. No photo available, and Google has only a very fuzzy satellite view of the harbor. Located at the end of the breakwater at Namyang, a small fishing village on the south coast of Ulleungdo. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4444.5.
* Daepunggam (Ulleongdo, Taeha, Taepung Ga) (2)
2011 (station established 1958). Active; focal plane 182 m (597 ft); white flash every 25 s. 20 m (66 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A photo is at right, a portfolio of photos is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. A photo of the original light station is also available. Located on a promontory at the northwestern tip of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4444; NGA 16540.

Buk (North) Township Lighthouses
Hyeonpo North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); red flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. A distant view is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Hyeonpo. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4443.5; NGA 16542.
* Hyeonpo East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 5 s. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with a mushroom-shaped top. A closeup photo, a view from the sea, and a view from the harbor are available, and Google has a distant satellite view of the harbor. Located at the end of the east breakwater at Hyeonpo, on the northwestern coast of Ulleungdo. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4443.8.
Cheonbu (Chonbu) Hang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); green flash every 4 s. 8 m (26 ft) round tower with a flared base, lantern, and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo (second photo on the page) is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater at Cheonbu, a fishing port on the northwest coast of the island. Site status unknown;, but the breakwater may be walkable. Admiralty M4443; NGA 16536.
Taeha Light
Daepunggam (Taeha) Light, Ulleungdo, March 2012
Panoramio photo copyright tazdevil; permission requested
Ssangjeongcho (Ssangjongcho)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 23 m (75 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted black with a red horizontal band. A closeup photo is available (second photo on the page). Located on a reef about 3 km (2 mi) northeast of the northeastern tip of Ulleungdo. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4446.4; NGA 16541.

Dokdo Lighthouse

Note: Dokdo is a territory consisting of two small volcanic islands and dozens of islets and rocks in the middle of the East Sea or Sea of Japan, 87 km (54 mi) east southeast of Ulleungdo. A nice aerial view is available. The islands are also called Takeshima in Japan and the Liancourt Rocks in the West. Sovereignty over the islands is the subject of an acrimonious dispute between Korea and Japan (and on this issue, North and South Korea are in complete agreement). South Korean forces occupied the islands in 1953 and have held them ever since despite sharp Japanese protests. The islands are occupied by several dozen Korean police, several coast guard personnel, and three lighthouse keepers. (To create a "permanent population," South Korea also settled an octopus fisherman and his wife on Dokdo.) Landing on the islands is limited to guided tours; there are also boat tours from Ulleungdo in which the cruise ships circle as close to the islands as possible.
Dokdo (Tok To) (2)
1998 (station established 1954). Active; focal plane 104 m (341 ft); white flash every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from one end of a 2-story concrete keeper's house. Entire structure painted white. A photo is at the top of this page, a good view of the lighthouse crowning the island is available, the South Korean government's Dokdo Museum website has numerous photos, the lighthouse was featured on a North Korean postage stamp, and Google has a satellite view. Located atop Dongdo, the eastern of the two major islands of the Dokdo group. Site and tower closed. ARLHS SKR-040; Admiralty M4440; NGA 16548.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: West: North Gyeongsang

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted October 29, 2007. Checked and revised February 25, 2014. Lighthouses: 14. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.