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An Introduction to Lighthouse

About Nautical and Navigation Signs

Surrounded by the Ocean and the Sea, Japan has long relied heavily on maritime industries including trade and fisheries.
Nautical navigation marks and signs are used to ensure safe/efficient operation of ships engaged in maritime industries.
Among nautical marks, there are:
 ⋅ Light-based signs such as lighthouses, light buoys, lanterns
 ⋅ Sound-based signs such as fog signal places
 ⋅ Radio-wave-based signs such as Differential GPS, LORAN C
In addition to above, there are centers such as maritime traffic centers, tidal current signal centers.

The World’s Oldest Lighthouse

The most antiquity lighthouse was Pharos Lighthouse built at the Pharos Island located at the mouth of the Alexandria Port, Egypt and was used from BC279 until AD1477.
Pharos is one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world like the Great Pyramid of Giza. Its height was reported variously by documents, from 120m to 180m, but the fire was lit in front of the marble reflector placed at the top of the lighthouse and it was said that the fire could be seen from several 10km away at night.

Japan’s Oldest Lighthouse

The first lighthouse in Japan can be traced back to some 1,400 years at capes and islands of Kyushu area. They generated smoke in the daytime and fire at night to signal the presence of land to trading ships travelling between Tang (China) and Japan.
History of the modern lighthouse in Japan began with contracts between Tokugawa Shogunate and the US, Britain, France and Netherland in 1866.

History of Anorisaki Lighthouse

The history of Anorisaki Lighthouse began with Tokugawa Government using it as a fire spot to guide ships in 1681.
Initially, a lantern covered by oilpaper was installed on a three-meter-tower where rapeseed oil was burnt except in stormy days when firewood was used.
Modern Lighthouse of Anorisaki was designed and constructed by British engineer Richard Henry Brunton. First lit on April 1, 1873 as his 20th Lighthouse in Japan and the first with a rotating Fresnel lens.
After coastal erosion twice forced its inland relocation, Anorisaki Lighthouse was re-electrified as a square ferro-concrete structure in 1948. Since the original one was the oldest with a wooden construction in Japan, it was dismantled and restored at Yokohama Lighthouse Station and displayed at the Museum of Maritime Science in Shinagawa, Tokyo.

Aerial view of Anorisaki Lighthouse

The Anorisaki Lighthouse was Japan’s 20th Lighthouse and uncommon square shape differed from the typical round lighthouse in Japan. It was selected as one of the 50 best lighthouses in Japan with its beautiful white color and unique shape.
Cape Anorizaki is located at the mouth of the Matoya Bay of the Shima Peninsula so visitors to Anorisaki Lighthouse can enjoy walking and picnicking around the lighthouse with splendid view of blue of open sea and green of garden. In 2013, Anorisaki Lighthouse was designated as one of the National Tangible Cultural Properties.
Even the Mt. Fuji can be seen on the clear days in winter from the lighthouse. In the early morning of the New Year’s Day, a lot of photographers gather at Cape Anorizaki for the first sunrise of the Year.
Anorisaki Lighthouse is one of 15 lighthouses that visitors can ascend. Visitors will be able to see the two different seas; the sea of quiet Matoya Bay and the sea of rough Pacific.

Photo: Maruya-kusatsu
Copy right: Toba Coast Guard Office

Overview: Anorisaki Lighthouse

Location: 34°21’54”N  136°54’30”E
Characteristic: Fl W 15s
Intensity:380,000 cd
Range:16.5 nautical miles (30.6km)
Height: 13m
Focal height: 33m

Please note:

  1. This lighthouse is an important facility to ensure safe navigation of ships. Please take care not to damage or dirty the facility or remove any equipment or items.
  2. The steps are narrow and steep, so please be careful ascending and descending the lighthouse.
  3. The lighthouse contains machines and equipment that are fragile or can be dangerous if touched.
  4. Unaccompanied young children and toddlers may be refused entrance for safety reasons.
  5. Those considered by the staff to pose a risk or danger to visit the lighthouse such as being drunken may be refused admission.
  6. Pets are not allowed in the lighthouse.
  7. Kindly take any waste such as trash/cans/bottles when you leave.
  8. Please refrain from smoking inside the lighthouse where fire is prohibited.
※We are not responsible for accidents caused by visitors’ careless behavior.

Information

Business hours: 9am to 4pm
Holidays:

Open year-round
Note: Visiting hours are subject to change due to weather conditions or operational reasons.

Donations Adults (high school students and above) 200yen
Note: This lighthouse visit program is organized by the Tokokai (public corporation) in order to enhance understanding of nautical marks and signs.
Donations are used to fund the collection and storing of historical lighthouse-related materials.

Visit-related inquiries

Anorizaki Branch, Tokokai (public corporation) TEL:0599-47-5622

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