Lighthouses of South Korea: Donghae and Samcheok (Southern Gangwon)

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 the southern part of South Korea's east coast in the province of Gangwon (Gangwon-do), including the metropolitan cities of Donghae and Samcheok. This coast faces the East Sea (commonly called the Sea of Japan in the West). Most of it is rugged and scenic but there are some sandy beaches between the headlands. Although there are some famous and historic lighthouses on this coast many of the more modern lights are not well known.

Following several recent government reorganizations, navigational aids in the ROK are now regulated by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF). Management of lighthouses in Gangwon is the responsibility of the Donghae Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries, with branch offices in the ports of Mukho, Sokcho, and Samcheok. The Korean Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration (KHOA) publishes notices to mariners.

In Korean the word for a lighthouse is deungdae (등대); dan is a cape, do is an island, and hang is a harbor. The Revised Romanization system for transliterating Korean into Latin characters has been official since 2000 although some place names may be more familiar in the spellings of older systems.

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
Donghae Regional Office - Navigation Aids Office
Information on major lighthouses of Gangwon Province.
Online List of Lights - Korea
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
OpenSeaMap
Navigation chart information for this area.

New Mukho Light
New Mukho Light, Donghae, December 2008
Panoramio photo copyright 임보순; permission requested

Donghae (Tonghae) City Lighthouses
* Kanshin Tan (Daejin)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10.5 m (34 ft) round white concrete tower. A closeup photo is at right and Google has a satellite view. Located beside the coastal highway about 3 km (2 mi) north of Mukho. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4449; NGA 16456.
* Donghaedaejin (Daejindeungdae) North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); two red flashes every 6 s. 6 m (20 ft) bulbous round concrete tower painted red. Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Located on the north breakwater of Donghaedaejin harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4449.05; NGA 16455.
* Donghaedaejin (Daejindeungdae) South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); two green flashes every 6 s. 6 m (20 ft) bulbous round concrete tower painted white. Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Located on the north breakwater of Donghaedaejin harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4449.06; NGA 16455.1.
* Eodal North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); red flash every 6 s. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with projections at the top suggesting outstretched arms. Entire lighthouse is red. A 2016 photo is available, Kim HeungKyu has a street view from the south breakwater, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the north (main) breakwater of Eodal harbor, on the north side of Mukho. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4447.5; NGA 16463.

Daejin Light, Donghae, September 2014
Panoramio photo by plumgarden; used by permission
* Eodal South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); green flash every 6 s. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with projections at the top suggesting outstretched arms. Entire lighthouse is white. Kim HeungKyu has a closeup street view and Google has a satellite view. Located on the south breakwater of Eodal harbor, on the north side of Mukho. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4447.51; NGA 16463.5.
#Mukho (1)
1963. Inactive since 2008 and replaced by a new lighthouse (next entry). This was a 12 m (39 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse was painted white. A photo is at right.
*** Mukho (2)
2008. Active; focal plane 88 m (289 ft); white flash every 10 s. 21 m (69 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and large round observation room. Entire lighthouse is white. Fog horn (blast every 55 s). A photo is at the top of this page, a good closeup is available, Richard Poth has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse, which serves as a landfall light for Mukho and Donghae, is a popular attraction because of its spectacular view of the East Sea. A lighthouse museum has been built next to the tower. Located on a headland that shelters the harbor of Mukho, on the north side of Donghae (Tonghae). Site open, museum open daily, tower probably open but no details are available. Admiralty M4447; NGA 16464.
* Mukho East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); red flash every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) square pyramidal concrete tower supported by four legs. Entire lighthouse is red. A distant view (last photo on the page) is available and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Mukho harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4448.4; NGA 16467.
Mukho West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 6 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. A photo is available (first photo on the page) and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Mukho harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4448; NGA 16466.
Mukho South Groyne
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south groin, a breakwater about 350 m (0.2 mi) south of the older West Breakwater. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4448.5; NGA 16469.
Donghae (Bugpyeong Hang) North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two red flashes every 5 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) round tapered concrete tower, painted red. A photo of the breakwater and a distant photo of the two breakwater lights are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Donghae harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4446.6; NGA 16480.

Mukho Light
1963 Mukho Light, Donghae
Donghae City photo

Donghae (Bugpyeong Hang) South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); green flash every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. A closeup photo is available, as well as a distant photo of the two breakwater lights, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Donghae harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4446.5; NGA 16484.

Samcheok City Lighthouses
* Samcheok Hang East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. A closeup is available and Google has a satellite view . Located at the end of the main breakwater of Samcheok harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4437; NGA 16492.
Samcheok Hang (Directional Light)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); continuous light, white, red or green depending on direction. 31 m (102 ft) steel skeletal tower with a square lantern enclosure. Byung Gook Choi has a 2018 photo, and Google has a satellite view. This is a leading light guiding vessels into Samcheok harbor. Located on a wharf at Samcheok, a harbor about 4 km (2.5 mi) southeast of the Donghae harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4437.2; NGA 16487.
Samcheok Hang West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the west breakwater of Samcheok harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4436; NGA 16488.
Bimal (Pi Mal) (2)
2014 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 76 m (249 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) round white concrete tower. A 2016 distant view is at right and Google has an indistinct satellite view and a very distant street view. The original light was on an 8 m (26 ft) round white concrete tower. This is an important but poorly known and rarely visited lighthouse. Located on a promontory about 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Samcheok. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4435; NGA 16496.
* Deoksan (Toksan) Hang East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. Jonan Sun has a closeup photo and Google has an indistinct satellite view and a street view showing both breakwater lighthouses. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Deoksan harbor, a small craft port sheltered by the cape of Bimal. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4434.75; NGA 16505.
* Deoksan (Toksan) Hang West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (43 ft); green flash every 5 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. Lee Yun Won has a view across the harbor, and Google has an indistinct satellite view and a street view showing both breakwater lighthouses. Located at the end of the west (really south) breakwater of Deoksan harbor, a small craft port sheltered by the cape of Bimal. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4434.7; NGA 16506.
* Gungchon Hang East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); red flash every 5 s. 14 m (46 ft) round concrete tower, strongly tapered from a conical base. Entire lighthouse is red. Choi Seong-hyun has a photo showing both breakwater lighthouses and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Gungchon harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4434.53.

Bimal Light, Samcheok, April 2016
public domain photo by Chirho

* Gungchon Hang South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); green flash every 5 s. 14 m (46 ft) round concrete tower, strongly tapered from a conical base. Entire lighthouse is white. Choi Seong-hyun has a photo showing both breakwater lighthouses and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the inner breakwater of Gungchon harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4434.55.
* Jangho Hang Groyne
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. Jang Sub Lee has a distant view of both Jangho lighthouses, Taegab Han has a street view and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of the west breakwater of Jangho harbor, a small craft port about 25 km (15 mi) south of Samcheok. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4434.3; NGA 16502.
* Jangho Hang Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); green flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. Jang Sub Lee has a distant view of both Jangho lighthouses, Taegab Han has a street view and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Jangho harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4434.2; NGA 16504.
Jangho (?)
Date unknown. Inactive since 2014 and probably demolished. 7 m (23 ft) round white concrete tower. No photo available and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located atop a promontory sheltering the harbor of Jangho. Site status unknown. ex-Admiralty M4434; ex-NGA 16500.
* Gallam Hang West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. A photo of both lighthouses is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west breakwater of Gallam harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4433.99.
* Gallam Hang East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); green flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. A photo of both lighthouses is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the east breakwater of Gallam harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4433.98.
* Sin Nam Hang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); red flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. A 2017 photo is available, Lee Jae-Gon has a more distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the main breakwater of Sin Nam harbor. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4433.95.
Imweon (Imwon) Hang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (97 ft); white flash every 8 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. No photo available but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a promontory about 32 km (20 mi) north of Uljin. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4433.7; NGA 16508.
Imweon Hang East Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. A 2018 photo is available and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Imweon harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4433.9; NGA 16518.
Imweon Hang West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. The light is near the center of a distant view and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Imweon harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4433.8; NGA 16516.
Hosan North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); red flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical steel tower, painted red. Park Minseok's photo is at right and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the north breakwater of Hosan, a recreational harbor about 20 km (13 mi) north of Uljin. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4433.5; NGA 16551.
Hosan South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical steel tower, painted white. A 2017 photo is available and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the north breakwater of Hosan, a recreational harbor about 20 km (13 mi) north of Uljin. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4433.6; NGA 16551.1.
Hosan North Breakwater Light
Hosan North Breakwater Light, February 2008
ex-Panoramio photo copyright Park Minseok; permission requested
Hosan North Outer Breakwater South End
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 18 m (59 ft), light characteristic unknown. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) round strongly tapered concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is yellow. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This light and the next one frame a narrow entrance to the petroleum harbor at Hosan. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4433.4.
Hosan South Outer Breakwater North End
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 18 m (59 ft), light characteristic unknown. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) round strongly tapered concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is yellow. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This light and the previous one frame a narrow entrance to the petroleum harbor at Hosan. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4433.45.
Hosan South Outer Breakwater South End
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 18 m (59 ft), red light, pattern unknown. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) round strongly tapered concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is red. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This light and the next one frame the main entrance to the petroleum harbor at Hosan. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4433.35.
Hosan South Training Dike
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 18 m (59 ft), green light, pattern unknown. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) round strongly tapered concrete tower. Entire lighthouse is white. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This light and the previous one frame the main entrance to the petroleum harbor at Hosan. Located at the end of a short breakwater at the petroleum terminal. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4433.37.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Gangneung Area | South: Uljin Area

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Posted October 29, 2007. Checked and revised September 30, 2019. Lighthouses: 35. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.