Hesaki Lighthouse is located on the northeastern tip of Kiku Peninsula in the Moji District of the City of Kitakyushu. The composite, low-standing lighthouse sitting on a low hill facing the Suonada in the Seto Inland Sea was completed in March 1872. The lighthouse has a circular stone tower with a semicircular annex attached. It is the 12th Western-style lighthouse that was lit in Japan, including provisional lamps, and was designed by Richard Henry Brunton who is called the “father of Japanese lighthouses.” It still continues to guard the safety of ships sailing even today at the eastern mouth of the Kanmon Straits, which saw so many shipwrecks it was became known ascalled “kitsunesaki .” (“foxes’ cape”). The lighthouse was established here because the number of foreign ships traversing the Kanmon Straits rapidly increased. From 1854 when the Treaty of Peace and Amity between Japan and the United States was concluded, ports were opened in places including Hakodate, Yokohama, Nagasaki, and Niigata and other places, and trade began in successivelyon. In time, the allied Western powers that included the United States began pressuring the shogunate government to develop facilities so that the Japanese waters near Japan could be safely sailednavigated. In May 1866, in accordance with the revised trade agreement signed between the shogunate government and 4 countries (the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and the Netherlands), the shogunate government promised to install modern navigational aids such as buoys and lighthouses primarily in the Port of Edo. Kobe opened a port in 1868, and in April the shogunate government concluded the Osaka Agreement (Osaka Treaty) with the United Kingdom. The treaty included thean agreement to install 5 lighthouses, and Hesaki Lighthouse was one of them. This project was inherited by the Meiji Government after the Meiji Restoration. The government, which had focused on a policy of increasing national prosperity and military power to oppose the allied Western powers, viewed the development of this marine transport project as important. The Japanese government invited Richard Henryi Brunton from the United Kingdom as the chief engineer for installing the lighthouses, and the establishment of navigational aids began going forwardproceeded at a rapid pace. In the Kanmon Straits, construction was completed on Mutsurejima Lighthouse (Shimonoseki City) in January 1872, and on Hesaki Lighthouse in March 1872. The wooden Shirasu Lighthouse was provisionally lit in 1873. Brunton also installed the second buoy (1869) and first reef sign (1871) in Japan. Development of navigational aids in the Kanmon Straits was being propelled forwardadvanced rapidly. The stone structure of Hesaki Lighthouse is white painted granite that was painted white. A portion of the masonry work for the annex is rusticated (frosted work). The hanging lantern, distinct for its round silhouette, is made of steel. Some of the lighthouse’s interior equipment such as the lens is from the Meiji period (1868–1912) and is still being used today. Above the entrance to the lighthouse is a copper plaque engraved with the date the lighthouse was first lit. There was also a shelter for officials who guard the lamp located in a site that is aone level above the lighthouse. The building was comprised of a main building, a kitchen/storehouse, a sundial as auxiliary equipment, and a rainwater tank for catching water to use for day-to-day life. However, the kitchen/storehouse was demolished and the face of the sundial is gone. Also, a mechanical tidal current signal remains that was installed in 1909. The stone lighthouse and annex facility still look the same as when they were first constructed. The existence of Hesaki Lighthouse is important. The navigational aids that underpinned the encouragement of a new industry in modern Japan can still be observed viewed today. The lighthouse was selected as one of Japan’s 50 best lighthouses because of its historical background and beautiful appearance.
Address： Shiranoe, Moji-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture
Tel： 093-321-1481 (Moji Coast Guard)
Hours : Open
Closed : Never
Fee : None
Category: Constituent cultural properties
Genre: Story 2