Lighthouses of Eastern North Korea

For most of its history, Korea was an independent kingdom, or at least an autonomous kingdom under Chinese influence. In 1910, 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 northern half of Korea became the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), a reclusive Communist state that bars all but a few carefully selected foreigners.

As a result of this history and the current political situation, there is very little information available on the lighthouses of North Korea. Fortunately, lighthouses have been a favorite subject for DPRK postage stamps, and these stamps provide images of some of the lighthouses. Also, satellite imagery confirms the presence of many lighthouses.

North Korea has two coastlines; the east coast faces the East Sea (Sea of Japan) and the west coast faces the Yellow Sea and Korea Bay. This page covers lighthouses of the east coast, and there is a separate page for the lighthouses of the west coast. In Korean, the word for a lighthouse is donghae (등대); dan is a cape and do is an island.

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
Leuchttürme auf Briefmarken
Postage stamp images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Changdokdo Light
Changdok Do Light, Wonsan, August 2010
Flickr photo copyright Thomas Peddle; used by permission

Rason City Lighthouses
Note: Rason (its name shortened from Rajin-Sonbong) is an ice-free port in the extreme northeast corner of Korea, close to both the Russian and Chinese borders. China is assisting in the development of the port, which provides northeastern China with a shorter route to the Pacific. In 2010, the metropolitan area was separated from Hamgyongbuk Province for more direct administration by the central government as the Rason Special Economic Zone.
Maritime Border Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 99 m (325 ft); continuous white light. 35 m (115 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. The front of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This range defines the border between Russia and North Korea at sea. The front light is in Russia (see the Valdivostok Area page). Located on a steep hillside above the Tumen River, which is the Russian border. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M7420.01; NGA 16198.1.
Ogaram Sam
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); continuous green light. 6.5 m (21 ft) white square metal tower mounted on a square concrete equipment building. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a headland about 7 km (4.5 mi) west southwest of the Russian border. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4590; NGA 16204.
Nan Do
1915. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); white flash every 14 s. 11 m (36 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. Fog siren. A postage stamp image is at right, and Bing has a satellite view. This is Korea's northernmost traditional lighthouse. Located on a small island in the Sea of Japan about 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Sonbong, near the Russian border. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-003; Admiralty M4570; NGA 16200.
Kwak Tan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); white flash every 12 s. 7.5 m (25 ft) square concrete tower. No photo available, and the light is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located on a sharp promontory about 10 km (6 mi) south of Sonbong. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4568; NGA 16228.

Nan Do Light, Rason
2001 postage stamp image courtesy of Michel Forand
Taecho (Daecho) Do
1935. Active; focal plane 120 m (394 ft); four white flashes every 25 s. 12.5 m (41 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. Fog siren (blast every 45 s). Bing has a satellite view. Taecho Do is an inhabited island roughly 1.5 km (1 mi) in diameter about 8 km (5 mi) south of Rajin. Located at the southern tip of the island. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-010; Admiralty M4558; NGA 16232.

North Hamgyong (Hamgyongbuk) Province Lighthouses
Ijin Man (Oryong Am)
1916. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 16.5 m (54 ft) round concrete tower on a square base, painted black. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a rock south of Ijin. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-017; Admiralty M4556; NGA 16248.
Chongjin (Komalsan, Komalsan Dan)
1910. Active; focal plane 59 m (194 ft); one long white flash every 6 s. 14 m (46 ft) hexagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, centered on a 1-story hexagonal concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. Fog siren (blast every 45 s). Forand's historic postcard view is at right, he also has a second postcard view, and Google has a satellite view in which the light station appears very little changed from its historic appearance. This is a staffed station. Located at the tip of the Komal Peninsula on the east side of the city of Chongjin. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-012; Admiralty M4540; NGA 16252.
Chongjin Dong Hang Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); continuous green light. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) concrete tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Originally developed as a port by the Japanese, Chongjin is now the third largest city of North Korea and the capital of North Hamgyong province. Located at the end of long east-to-west breakwater that protects the modern harbor of Chongjin. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4542; NGA 16260.
Chongjin So Hang Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); continuous green light. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) concrete tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the long north-to-south breakwater that protects the southern harbor of Chongjin. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4546; NGA 16268.
Orang Dan (Odaejin)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 8.5 m (28 ft) round brick tower, painted white. Fog siren. No photo available. A Google satellite view probably shows the lighthouse, although it is about 1 km (0.6 mi) north of the listed position. Located on a promontory on the east side of the port of Odaejin. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-021; Admiralty M4534; NGA 16272.
Komalsan Light
Chongjin (Komalsan) Light, Chongjin
historic postcard photo courtesy of Michel Forand
Ryanghwa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); white flash every 3 s. Fog horn. No descripton or photo available, and the light is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located on a sharp promontory about 40 km (25 mi) north of Musu Dan. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4532; NGA 16278.
Unmandae Dan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 119 m (390 ft); white flash every 14 s. No photo or description available, but Google's satellite view suggests a concrete tower. Located on a prominent headland about 16 km (10 mi) north of Musu Dan. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4531; NGA 16277.
Musu Dan (Cape Boltin)
1911. Active; focal plane 83 m (272 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Keeper's house and other buildings. Fog siren. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the most prominent cape of Korea's northeast coast, near the village of Kalma. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-020; Admiralty M4530; NGA 16280.
Songjin Peninsula (Kimchaek)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 7.5 m (25 ft) octagonal concrete tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing's indistinct satellite view probably locates the light. Located on a promontory on the south side of the port of Kimchaek (formerly Songjin). Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-022; Admiralty M4516; NGA 16284.

South Hamgyong (Hamgyongnam) Province Lighthouses
Yongdae Gap
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); one long white flash every 9 s. No photo or description available, but Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located on a prominent cape east of Kimch'aek. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4514; NGA 16301.
Choncho Do (Chonchodo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 91 m (299 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. Described by NGA only as a "beacon"; Google's satellite view shows a round or hexagonal concrete tower. No photo available. Located on an island (really a promontory with a narrow connection to the mainland) east of Sinpo. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4512.2; NGA 16305.
Song Do Gap
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 59 m (194 ft); one long white flash every 7 s. No description available, but Bing's satellite view reveals a concrete tower, possibly with lantern and gallery. Located on a rocky islet connected to a prominent cape by a narrow sandbar, about 13 km (8 mi) east of Sinpo. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4510.4; NGA 16306.
Mayang Do (Mayangdo)
1913. Active; focal plane 68 m (223 ft); four white flashes every 22 s. 8 m (26 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Mayang Do is an irregularly-shaped island about 6 km (3.5 mi) long located just off the coast about 20 km (13 mi) east of Hongwon. Located on a hill near the southeastern point of the island. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-019; Admiralty M4510; NGA 16308.
Ansong Gap
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 87 m (285 ft); one long white flash every 7 s. 7.5 m (25 ft) hexagonal concrete tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a very prominent cape about 16 km (10 mi) southwest of Hongwon and a similar distance northeast of Hungnam. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-015; Admiralty M4506.5; NGA 16308.5.
Soho (Sohojin, Hungnam)
1911. Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); two white flashes every 30 s. 7 m (23 ft) octagonal concrete tower centered on a square 1-story concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. A postage stamp image is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the tip of a rugged peninsula on the east side of the port of Hungnam. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-014; Admiralty M4506; NGA 16312.
Hungnam Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); continuous red light. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Hungnam, North Korea's third largest city. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4492; NGA 16316.

Soho Light, Hungnam
2001 postage stamp image courtesy of Michel Forand
Kwangsunggotchi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); one long white flash every 9 s. No description available, but Bing's satellite view reveals a round concrete tower at least 15 m (49 ft) high. Located on a promontory about 20 km (13 mi) east of Kumya. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4490; NGA 16323.

Kangwon Province Lighthouses
Note: The 1953 armistice line split this province, so there is a province by the same name across the line in South Korea. The name of the South Korean province is now spelled Gangwon. The provincial capital Wonsan is an important port.
Sokkun Som (2)
Date unknown (station established 1919). Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 7 s. 17 m (56 ft) 2-stage round strongly conical concrete tower with a gallery at the top of the lower stage. The lighthouse appears to be unpainted white concrete. No photo available, but a postage stamp image is at right and Google has a satellite view. Located on a skerry about 1 km (0.6 mi) off the southern tip of the Hodo Peninsula, marking the entrance to Wonsan Bay; Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-006; Admiralty M4488; NGA 16324.
Yubun Do (Yubundo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); one long white flash every 6 s. Described only as a "beacon" by NGA; Google's satellite view reveals that the light is mounted on a rectangular building. Located on a small island in the entrance to Wonsan Bay Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4487; NGA 16325.
Yongjin (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); one long white flash every 12 s. Tower height unknown. NGA describes this as a "white square framework tower," but Google's satellite view is consistent with a concrete tower. Located on a promontory on the north side of Wonsan Bay. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4485; NGA 16326.
Yo Do
1906. Active; focal plane 67 m (220 ft); white light occulting once every 20 s. 8 m (26 ft) octagonal concrete tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Yo Do is the largest of a scattering of small islands in the southern entrance to Wonsan Bay. Located on heights at the southeastern point of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-023; Admiralty M4472; NGA 16332.
Sokkun Som Light Apryong Dan Light
Sokkun Som Light (left) and Apryong Dan Light
2004 postage stamp images courtesy of Klaus Huelse
Changdok Do (Wonsan Hang, Changdokdo)
Date unknown (rebuilt 2009). Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse is white; lantern dome is gray metallic. Thomas Peddle's photo is at the top of this page, a view from the mainland is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Originally the upper portion of the light was a square skeletal tower, but in 2009 this was replaced by an extension of the concrete tower. A photo of this construction is available, and Klaus Huelse has a postage stamp image showing the earlier appearance of the tower. Located on a skerry at the end of the 1.2 km (3/4 mi) long breakwater of Wonsan. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4480; NGA 16340.
Apryong Dan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 10 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. The lighthouse appears to be unpainted white concrete. No photo available, but a postage stamp image appears above and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a prominent cape about 25 km (15 mi) east of Wonsan. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4473; NGA 16350.
Chongsok Dan (Chongsok Tan)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 39 m (128 ft); two white flashes every 30 s. Tower with lantern and gallery, height unknown. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a very sharp promontory about 80 km (50 mi) southeast of Wonson. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4468; NGA 16352.
Sol Som
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 66 m (216 ft); one long white flash every 25 s. No description or photo available, and the light is not seen in Bing's satellite view. Located on an island close offshore about 25 km (15 mi) northwest of Changjon. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4465; NGA 16358.
Changjon Man (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 82 m (269 ft); white light, 3.5 s on, 3.5 s off. NGA describes this as a "white square iron framework structure, concrete base." No photo is available, but Google's satellite view suggests a concrete tower on a square base. Located on a high promontory on the north side of the entrance to Changjon. Site and tower closed. Admiralty M4464; NGA 16360.
Changadae Dan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 75 m (246 ft); two white flashes every 18 s. 14 m (46 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. Located on a prominent cape about 8 km (5 mi) northwest of Kosong. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-001; Admiralty M4462; NGA 16359.
Suwon Dan (Cape Duroch) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 41 m (134 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. Fog siren (blast every 60 s). No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on a cape about 3 km (2 mi) east of Kosong and 6 km (3.5 mi) north of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas. Site and tower closed. ARLHS NKR-008; Admiralty M4461; NGA 16364.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Vladivostok Area | South: Sokcho Area

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Posted September 24, 2007. Checked and revised February 3, 2014. Lighthouses: 33. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.