Lighthouses of Northeastern Taiwan

Taiwan is a large island, nearly 400 km (250 mi) long, lying about 180 km (110 mi) off the coast of China. The island was claimed by the Chinese Empire in 1683 and some of its coastal regions at least were governed by China for more than 200 years. In 1895, following the first Sino-Japanese War, China ceded control of Taiwan to Japan. Japan governed the island until the end of the Second World War in 1945. While in power, the Japanese constructed several lighthouses in Taiwan that remain active today. In 1949, the collapse of Nationalist forces in mainland China led to a new governmental separation between Taiwan and the mainland, with the Nationalist government (the Republic of China) on Taiwan and the Communist government (the People's Republic of China) on the mainland. This separation continues to the present day.

This page includes lighthouses of the northern and eastern coasts of Taiwan, from Taoyuan in the north through Hualien in the east.

The Nationalist government also administers the Penghu (Pescadores) Islands to the southwest and the Matsu, Wuciou, and Kinmen (Quemoy) islands in Fujian province across the Taiwan Strait.

Historically, lighthouses in Taiwan have been operated by the Department of Maritime Affairs within the Directorate General of Customs. Beginning 1 January 2013 they are now managed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, which has announced plans to restore and develop the light stations as tourist attractions.

The Chinese word for a lighthouse is dēngtǎ (灯塔). Jiao or chiao is a cape, dao, tao, yu, or hsu is an island, wan is a bay, and kang or gang is a harbor. Due to competing systems for transliterating Chinese into Latin characters, there are always several possible spellings for the names of places in China. In Taiwan, the Wade-Giles system was in use for many years, but at the beginning of 2009 the Pinyin system used on the mainland became the standard in Taiwan as well. At the present time, most place names in Taiwan are still known mostly under the Wade-Giles spellings: Keelung rather than Jilong, for example, and Kaohsiung rather that Gaoxiong.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume F of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
DCG Lighthouse Distribution
Posted by the Directorate General of Customs, this interactive page links to pages on the individual lighthouses. All text in Chinese.
Lighthouses in Taiwan
Hosted by the National Kaohsiung University of Applied Science (NKUAS), this page links to individual pages on all the major lighthouses of Taiwan. Text in Chinese.
Lighthouses of Taiwan
This "Internet exhibition" by the Kaohsiung Museum of Marine Exploration (MOME) has small photos and text in English for the historic lighthouses.
Keelung Harbor Bureau - Navigational Aids
Light list for the northeastern corner of Taiwan.
Lighthouses in Taiwan
Photos available from Wikimedia.
Lighthouses in Taiwan
Wikipedia checklist, useful for its Pinyin spellings.
Leuchttürme auf Briefmarken
Postage stamp images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Leuchttürme Chinas auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images of Chinese lighthouses, also posted by Klaus Huelse.

Baisajia Light
Baisajia Light, Guanyin, December 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Nomad YC

Pengjiayu Lighthouse
Note: Pengjia (Peng Chia Hsu) is a small volcanic island located about 60 km (38 mi) northeast of the northern tip of Taiwan. The height of the volcano is listed as 165 m (541 ft). The island is uninhabited except for the staffs of the light station and a weather station and a small Army detachment that maintains Taiwan's sovereignty. There is also housing for visiting scientists. Older sources may refer to the island as Agincourt, the name given to it by Western navigators. Administratively, the island is placed under Keelung City.
Pengjiayu (Pengjia, Peng Chia Hsu, Pen Chia Yu) (2)
1909 (station established 1897). Active; focal plane 146 m (479 ft); white flash every 15 s. 26 m (85 ft) round brick tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on an hexagonal pyramidal brick base and rising from a keeper's house. Original 1st order Fresnel lens, the only first order lens in use in Taiwan. Lighthouse painted white; the lantern dome is black. Iron bands have been placed around the tower to strengthen it against typhoons and earthquakes. DCG has a page for the station including the photo at right, the lighthouse appears on a postage stamp, and the Taipei Times has a 2002 article on longtime keeper Peng Hsing-shih, but Google's satellite view has no detail for the island. The lighthouse was repaired after being damaged by aerial strafing during World War II. Site and tower closed; visits require permission of the military. ARLHS TAI-022; Admiralty F4690; NGA 13588.

Taoyuan County Lighthouse
**** Baisajia (Baishajia, Paisha Chia, Pai-Sha Chia)
1902. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); flash every 10 s, alternately red and white. 25 m (82 ft) round brick tower with lantern and gallery. Original 3rd order Fresnel lens in use. Lighthouse painted white, lantern dome black. A photo appears above, Wikimedia has a 2011 photo, Shenhung Lin has a 2008 photo, another 2008 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This is one of the first lighthouses built in Taiwan under the Japanese administration. Originally it was 38 m (125 ft) in height, but the upper portion was destroyed during World War II. After the war, the tower was repaired to its present height. In March 2013, it was announced that the light station would be opened for tours starting in September. Located on a bluff above the coast near Guanyin. Site open, tower open but the schedule is not known. ARLHS TAI-019; Admiralty F4662; NGA 13952.
Pengjiayu Light
Pengjiayu Light, Pengjiayu
Directorate General of Customs photo

Northern New Taipei City (Danshui Area) Lighthouses
Note: Taipei is the capital of Taiwan. New Taipei City (Xinbei Shi), formerly Taipei County, is a suburban municipality that includes the northern end of Taiwan except for the urban areas of Taipei and Keelung.
Danshui South Breakwater (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); red flash every 5 s. 16 m (49 ft) round strongly conical concrete tower with gallery, painted red. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse replaced a light on a short pole. Located at the end of the south breakwater of the new Port of Taipei. Site status unknown. Admiralty F4663.2; NGA 13960.5.
Danshui North (Outer) Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); green flash every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) round concrete tower with gallery, painted green. The light is seen in the background of a photo of the south breakwater light, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the outer breakwater of the new Port of Taipei. Site status unknown. Admiralty F4663.4; NGA 13960.1.
* Hui Wharf
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); continuous red light. 13 m (43 ft) tapered square skeletal tower, painted white. Kevin Kung has a photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on the waterfront in downtown Danshui. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F4666.5.
* Danshui (Tamshui, Tan-Shui Kang) (3)
1970 (station established 1796). Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white light, 2 s on, 6 s off. 33 m (108 ft) tapered square skeletal tower, painted white. A 2011 photo and a distant view are available, NKUAS has a page for the lighthouse, MOME has a small photo (#1 on the page), Google has a satellite view. The 1796 lighthouse was a small square tower; it was replaced in 1888 by the front light of a range on a skeletal tower. Lafayette College has posted a 1915 photo of the two historic lighthouses. Apparently both of these lighthouses were destroyed in World War II. Located on a promontory on the north side of the entrance to the Danshui River in Danshui. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS TAI-029; Admiralty F4664; NGA 13960.
* Fuguejiao (Fu-kuei Chiao, Fukwei Chiao, Cape Fukwei) (3)
1968 (station established 1897). Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 14 m (46 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands. Fog horn (blast every 30 s). A photo is at right, a 2007 photo and another photo are available, Wikimedia has a distant view, Huelse has a postage stamp image; Google has a fuzzy satellite view and labels obscure Bing's satellite view. The original lighthouse, an octagonal cast iron tower prefabricated in Tokyo, was heavily damaged in World War II. It was dismantled in 1954 and replaced by a temporary steel skeletal tower. The present lighthouse is apparently a replica of the original lighthouse in concrete. Except for Pengjiayu, this is Taiwan's northernmost lighthouse, located on a promontory in Shimen, about 2 km (1.2 mi) north of Laomei. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area. ARLHS TAI-008; Admiralty F4670; NGA 13592.
* Yeliou (Yeh-Liu Pan-Tao)
1967. Active; focal plane 99 m (325 ft); white light, 3 s on, 7 s off. 12 m (36 ft) white concrete post supported by four curving legs. Tzu-leng Hung has a 2008 closeup photo, MOME has a small photo (#9 on the page), and Huelse has a postage stamp image. However, the light is not conspicuous in a Google satellite view. This unusual modern light was designed to resemble a candle stand. Visitors can admire the view from seats under the light tower. The area is famous for remarkable rock formations sculptured by wind and waves, but these rocks extend offshore as a very dangerous reef. Located at the tip of a narrow peninsula about 12 km (7.5 mi) northwest of Keelung. Accessible by a very scenic hiking trail. Site manager: Yehliu Special Scenic Area. ARLHS TAI-036; Admiralty F4672; NGA 13596.
Fuguejiao Light
Fuguejiao (Fu-kuei Cape) Light, Shimen, February 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Nomad YC

Keelung (Jilong, Chilung) City Lighthouses
* Keelung Yu (Chilung Tao, Keelung Island)
1980. Active; focal plane 189 m (620 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal concrete tower with gallery, rising from a square 1-story base. Lighthouse painted with black and white vertical stripes. Doug Nienhuis has a 2012 closeup, a 2010 closeup is available, MOME has a small photo (last on the page) of the top of the tower, the lighthouse is seen in a view from the sea, Geocaching.com has a photo showing the trail to the lighthouse, it appears on a 2010 postage stamp, and Google has a satellite view. Located atop a steep-sided island about 6 km (3.5 mi) northeast of Keelung harbor. The island is accessible by passenger ferry from Keelung, and it is a popular but challenging climb up to the lighthouse. Site status unknown. ARLHS TAI-005; Admiralty F4672.2; NGA 13600.
Keelung (Chilung) West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16.5 m (54 ft); red flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) 2-stage concrete tower, a round post mounted on a broad octagonal base. Entire lighthouse painted red. The light is at the right in a photo centered on the Guanghua tower (see below), a view from the sea is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the west breakwater at the entrance to Keelung harbor. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F4676; NGA 13620.
* Keelung (Chilung, Wan-Jentui Pi) (2)
1900. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); one short and one long white flash every 7 s. 11 m (36 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; the lantern dome is black. WunKai Wang's photo is at right, DCG has a page with a good photo, J.R. Wei has a 2009 closeup and a good view of the station, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was a brick tower; it appears that it was encased in concrete during a reconstruction in 1962. Located off Guanghua Road above a busy containership terminal on a peninsula at the west side of the entrance to Keelung harbor. Site status unknown but probably open, tower closed. ARLHS TAI-055; Admiralty F4674; NGA 13604.
Chiutzu Shan (Range Rear)
1956. Inactive since 1991. 12 m (39 ft) rectangular cylindrical concrete tower with gallery. Originally painted white, the tower was painted green after deactivation. MOME has a small photo (#8 on the page), and a Google satellite view probably shows the lighthouse. The light was built as the rear light of a range extending from the traditional Keelung lighthouse (previous entry). It was deactivated after a major harbor improvement project changed the line of approach for ships. Located atop Chiutzu Shan, the mountain on the west side of Keelung harbor, about 600 m (0.4 mi) west southwest of the Keelung lighthouse. Site status unknown.
*** Keelung (Chilung) West Inner Breakwater (Guanghua Tower)
1967. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); continuous red light. 26 m (85 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower supporting a rotating café. Lighthouse painted blue with a red roof; the light is shown from a short post centered atop the tower. A 2007 aerial photo is available, a 2009 photo shows the tower freshly repainted, Vic Tsai has a view from the harbor, Huelse also has a photo, and the red roof is conspicuous in a Google satellite view. This tower was built by the Keelung Harbour Bureau and used for corporate functions; in 2000 it was transferred to the Keelung City government and renovated as a café and coffeehouse. It commands a sweeping view of the harbor, the city, and the mountains behind. Located at the end of the short inner breakwater on the west side of Keelung harbor, not far from the historic lighthouse (previous entry). Site open, café open daily. Owner/site manager: Keelung City Government. ARLHS TAI-040; Admiralty F4677; NGA 13632.
Keelung (Chilung) East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16.5 m (54 ft); green flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) 2-stage concrete tower, a round post mounted on a broad octagonal base. Entire lighthouse painted green. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Shi-Chih Chiang's 2008 photo shows the light painted white. Located at the end of the original east breakwater at the entrance to Keelung harbor. Site and tower closed. ARLHS TAI-039; Admiralty F4675; NGA 13616.
Chilung Light
Keelung (Chilung) Light, Keelung, August 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by WunKai Wang
Keelung (Chilung) East Breakwater Extension (1)
1990s. Inactive since 2009(?). 12 m (39 ft) round concrete tower with gallery, painted white. Rui Zheng has a photo (also showing Chilung Tao in the background), another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The extension of the east breakwater projects seaward, perpendicular to the original breakwater. This light is located at the original end of the extension, now an elbow of the pier. Site and tower closed.
Keelung (Chilung) East Breakwater Extension (2)
2009. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); green flash every 4 s. 17 m (56 ft) round bottle-shaped concrete tower, painted green. A 2012 photo and a second photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. The extension was extended farther in 2009, and this light is at the north end. Site and tower closed. ARLHS TAI-038; Admiralty F4675.5; NGA 13624.
* Badou (Pa-Tou) West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); three red flashes every 10 s. 7 m (23 ft) post centered on a round 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted red. A photo and a second photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the west breakwater of the Badou fishing harbor on the east side of Keelung. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F4684; NGA 13658.
* Badou (Pa-Tou) East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); three red flashes every 10 s. 9 m (30 ft) post centered on a round 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted red. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the east breakwater of the Badou fishing harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F4685; NGA 13659.
Badouzi
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round white concrete tower. A view from shore, a second view, and a nighttime view are available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a rocky ledge in a small harbor basin on the east side of Badou. Site open, tower closed.

Eastern New Taipei City Lighthouses
* Bitoujiao (Pitou Chiao, Bitou Cape) (2)
1971 (station established 1897). Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); white light, 6 s on, 5 s off. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with double gallery, flanked by a 1-story concrete keeper's cottage. Entire lighthouse is white. A good photo is available, also a second photo, NKUAS has a page for the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse, a hexagonal cast iron tower, was destroyed during World War II. Located on a sharp, rocky promontory about 20 km (12.5 mi) east of Keelung. Accessible by a short (and popular) hiking trail. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Northeast Coast National Scenic Area (Bitou Cape Park). ARLHS TAI-023; Admiralty F4693; NGA 13676.
**** Sandiaojiao (Santiao Chiao, Sandiao Cape, San Diego Cape)
1935. Active; focal plane 101 m (331 ft); two long flashes every 28 s, white or red depending on direction. 16.5 m (54 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a semicircular 1-story keeper's house. 2nd order clamshell Fresnel lens in use. Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is black. Wunkai Wang's photo is at right, Yenchiun Kuo has a fine closeup and a more distant view, DCG has a page for the station, NKUAS has a page for the lighthouse, Wikimedia has several photos, and Google has a satellite view of the station. This lighthouse, marking the easternmost point of Taiwan, has a characteristically Japanese design. It was repaired after being strafed during World War II, but machine gun bullet holes can still be seen in the walls. It was opened to the public in 1992. Locally, it is often called the "San Diego" or "Santiago" lighthouse. Located in Gongliao about 25 km (15 mi) southeast of Bitou Cape; accessible by road off national highway 2. Site open, tower open for climbing daily. Site manager: Northeast Coast National Scenic Area. ARLHS TAI-025; Admiralty F4694; NGA 13680.

Yilan County Lighhouses
* Guishandao (Kuishan Tao, Kueishan Tao, Turtle Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) square unpainted concrete pillar with a small gallery. A photo is available, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the location. Guishan is a volcanic island about 10 km off Toucheng. Located on the western tip of the island. Accessible only by boat; guided tours are available, but reservations are required. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F4697; NGA 13682.
Suao (Pei Chiao, Beijiao)
1927. Active; focal plane 56 m (184 ft); flash every 7 s, white or red depending on direction. 8 m (26 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is black. DCG has a page for the station, Taichung Customs Office has a small photo (pdf file), there is a 2007 photo of three Suao lighthouses, and Bing has a satellite view. Suao is the principal Republic of China naval base on the east coast of Taiwan, located about 50 km (30 mi) southeast of Taipei and a similar distance north of Hualien. Located at the tip of a peninsula sheltering Suao harbor. A long unpaved road leads to the lighthouse, but probably the area is not open to the public. Site status unknown. ARLHS TAI-020; Admiralty F4700; NGA 13684.

Sandiaojiao (Sandiao Cape) Light, Gongliao, July 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Wunkai Wang
Suao North Outer Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); two quick white flashes every 5 s. 19 m (62 ft) round concrete tower, painted white. There is a 2007 photo of both outer breakwater lighthouses, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater. Site and tower closed. ARLHS TAI-046; Admiralty F4700.5; NGA 13688.
Suao North Inner Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); red light, 3 s on, 2 s off. 21 m (62 ft) mast mounted on a round concrete tower, painted red. The lighthouse is at far right in a photo from across the harbor, it is barely visible in a photo of the harbor, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at a sharp-angled elbow of the breakwater. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F4701.15; NGA 13716.
Suao South Outer Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); two quick white flashes every 5 s. 19 m (62 ft) round concrete tower, painted white. A dramatic photo is available, there is a 2007 photo of both outer breakwater lighthouses, the lighthouse is barely visible in a photo of the harbor, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater. Site and tower closed. ARLHS TAI-047; Admiralty F4700.6; NGA 13692.

Hualien County (Central East Coast) Lighthouses
Heping (Ho-p'ing Hsi) Range Rear
2009. Active; focal plane 52 m (171 ft); quick-flashing green light. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The front light is a directional light on a shorter tower at the harbor entrance. Located in a large power plant at Heping, about 50 km (30 mi) north of Hualien. Site status unknown. Admiralty F4704.1; NGA 13725.5.
* Cilaibi (Chilai Pi, Hualien) (2)
1964 (station established 1931). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white light, 3 s off, 3 s on. 13 m (43 ft) pentagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is black. Three small 1-story keeper's cottages stand in a row adjacent to the lighthouse. A photo is at right, another photo and a closer view are available, also a 2008 photo, NKUAS has a page for the lighthouse, Huelse has a postage stamp image, and Google has a satellite view. The pentagonal cross section of this lighthouse is quite unusual. The original lighthouse, a square tower only 7.5 m (25 ft) high, was destroyed in World War II. The name of the lighthouse means Chilai Point; it preserves the original name Chilai for Hualein. Located on a headland on the north side of Hualien. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS TAI-004; Admiralty F4705; NGA 13728.
* Hualien (2)
1965 (station established 1910). Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); three green flashes every 12 s. 28 m (92 ft) tapered square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. NKUAS has another page, and Google has a satellite view. Located adjacent to a school athletic field about 1.5 km (1 mi) west of the Hualien harbor entrance. Site presumably open, tower closed. ARLHS TAI-012; Admiralty F4706; NGA 13732.

Cilaibi Light, Hualien, February 2008
Wikimedia public domain photo by Deutschesreich
Hualien East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 23 m (75 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. A photo and a second photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. The East Breakwater has been lengthened so that it extends parallel to the coast for about 4 km (2.5 mi), sheltering one of the largest harbors of Taiwan's east coast. Located at the end of the breakwater. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F4709.1; NGA 13749.
Hualien East Breakwater Spur (South Head)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) post rising from a round 1-story equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is red. A very distant view (light near the center of the photo) is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the harbor entrance. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F4709; NGA 13748.
Hualien West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (56 ft); green flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) post attached to a square 1-story equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is green, according to NGA, but it is white in a very distant view (light near the center of the photo). Google has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the harbor entrance. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F4709.3; NGA 13750.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Sakishima Islands | Southwest: Southwestern Taiwan

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Posted September 11, 2007. Checked and revised August 16, 2013. Lighthouses: 32. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.