What is the Old Sakai Lighthouse?

What is the Old Sakai Lighthouse? Summary of history, nearby attractions, and access information.

The 'Old Sakai Lighthouse' is a historic structure designated as a national historic site, recognized as one of the oldest Western-style wooden lighthouses in Japan. In this article, we will introduce the history of the lighthouse, access information, and nearby attractions.

The Old Sakai Lighthouse

The Old Sakai Lighthouse, constructed in the 10th year of the Meiji era (1877) at the southern pier of the former Sakai Port, stands approximately 12 meters tall and is characterized by its hexagonal tapered shape. As land reclamation progressed in the area, the lighthouse fulfilled its role and was subsequently preserved as one of Sakai's symbols.

This historic lighthouse, one of Japan's oldest Western-style wooden lighthouses still in existence, is designated as a national historic site. Surrounding attractions include the former Sakai Port and the Statue of Ryujoshin (the Statue of the Dragon Goddess).

5-1-22 Ohamakitamachi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Osaka
How to go
15-minute walk from Sakai Station on the Nankai Railway Main Line

The history of the Old Sakai Lighthouse

For the construction of the Old Sakai Lighthouse, the expenses were covered by donations from influential figures in Sakai and subsidies from Sakai Prefecture (now part of southeastern Osaka Prefecture and Nara Prefecture). It continued to illuminate Osaka Bay for about a century after its completion, but its role came to an end in 1968 when its light was extinguished.

In recent years, due to aging, preservation and repair work was conducted from 2001 to 2006, bringing back its original beauty.

Why was the Old Sakai Lighthouse built?

After Japan's opening due to Perry's arrival, lighthouses were constructed in various locations to ensure the safe navigation of foreign ships.

Sakai also requested the installation of a lighthouse, but it did not materialize. The majority of the construction cost, about 2,125 yen for construction and approximately 360 yen for equipment installation, was covered by donations from the people of Sakai. These donations were collected during the same period as the expansion of the harbor, with about 70% of the construction costs coming from the city, and the surplus funds were allocated accordingly.

For the construction, Stonemason Tsugikuni Masayoshi from Bizen (Okayama Prefecture) was responsible for the stone foundation, while the construction work was carried out by Sakai's carpenter, Omayu Sataro. The lens for the light section was installed by British engineer Biggulston. Initially, an oil lamp was used, and it was said that the green light reached far out to sea.

Attractions Around the Old Sakai Lighthouse

Old Sakai Harbor

Sakai Port, a natural harbor, thrived as a foreign trade port in the medieval period. However, during the Edo period, the Yamatogawa River was diverted, leading to the accumulation of sediment in the port and its gradual decline. Subsequently, with the efforts of merchants like Tawaraemon Yoshikawa from Edo, the current prototype of Sakai Old Port was reconstructed.

Today, the 'Sakai Old Harbor Waterfront Promenade' has been developed, serving as a place for relaxation and interaction for citizens and visitors, offering a waterfront atmosphere imbued with history and romance.

The Statue of Ryujoshin (The Statue of the Dragon Goddess)

The statue was originally erected in front of the Ohama Aquarium in Sakai during the 5th Domestic Industrial Exhibition held in Meiji 36 (1903). After the exhibition, it was transferred to Sakai City along with the Ohama Aquarium. Affectionately known as 'Otohime-san,' the statue symbolized peace and prosperity.

The current statue was restored as part of Sakai City's 110th anniversary commemorative project. Standing on a 16-meter high stone pedestal, the bronze statue of Otohime measures 10 meters in height.

Experience History at the Old Sakai Lighthouse!

In this article, we introduced the Old Sakai Lighthouse. Since it's within walking distance from Sakai Station, it's recommended to visit casually while shopping or on a day out. Why not take a stroll through Sakai's Bay Area while marveling at the historic lighthouse that has stood since the Meiji era?