Monday, March 31, 2014

The Majestic Nojimazaki Lighthouse

"Darkness reigns 
at the foot of the lighthouse"

Japanese proverb

The majestic Nojimazaki Lighthouse in between the pine trees.

Back in late September 2013, the second tour of Chiba Kun Ambassadors took us to tour the most southern tip of the Bōsō Peninsula in the city of Minamibōsō, Chiba prefecture. Sitting majestically on a hill was Nojimazaki Lighthouse (野島崎灯台), which was one of eight lighthouses to be built in Meiji period Japan under the provisions of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce of 1858, signed by the Bakumatsu period Tokugawa Shogunate.

The lighthouse was completed almost 150 years ago, back in the second year of Meiji era (1869). A French - François Léonce Verny (1837 – 1908) was the engineer who was responsible in designing and constructing this lighthouse as the second Western-style lighthouse built in Japan.

At the entrance to the lighthouse, there are several marine-related items to greet the visitors.

The French engineer who built this lighthouse had his name engraved on the walls inside the lighthouse.

The huge Second Order Fresnel lens that has intensity of 1.2 million candela.

The breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean from the top of the lighthouse.

The coastal line of Shirahama can be seen from the lighthouse too.

Photo-time with two fellow Chiba Kun Ambassadors from Korea.

Bonjour! So, this was the guy who built the lighthouse.

In this exhibition hall called Kirarin-kan (きらりん館), there is a French-made Fresnel lens, which looks more like a glass art.

Nojimazaki Lighthouse is noteworthy as the second lighthouse to be completed in Japan after the Kannonzaki lighthouse on the opposing entrance to Tokyo Bay. It was one of the eight lighthouses required to be built by Tokugawa shogunate in accordance with the Edo Treaty of 1866 signed with Britain, France and the Netherlands. As completed, the whitewashed octagonal brick structure stood 30 metres high, and had a first-order Fresnel lens, with a kerosene light source. The lighthouse was first lit on January 19, 1869.

Unfortunately, the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 torn down the top eight meters of the structure. It was rebuilt in concrete and re-commissioned a couple of years later on August 15, 1925. However, the structure suffered major damages again 20 years later in 1945 by the bombardment by the United States Navy. It was repaired after the war with a second-order Frensel lens, and was subsequently electrified.

Surrounded by the Japanese pine forest is an old shrine – Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社) which was built in 1779.

This shrine celebrates the Seven lucky Gods (Shichi Fukujin, 七福神), the seven gods of good fortune in Japanese mythology and folklore.

Beautiful red torii gates at the shrine.

Today, the Nojimazaki Lighthouse is open to the public. Besides the mini museum at its base, that showcases the history of the lighthouse and also a model of the gigantic lens use at the top of the lighthouse; visitors get to climb all the way to the top of the lighthouse. From here, visitors will be able to enjoy the fantastic panoramic view over the Pacific Ocean.

Nojimazaki Lighthouse is registered with the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities as one of the "One Hundred Most Important Lighthouses in the World" and by the Japanese government as a Historic Monument.

The 29-meter tall Nojimazaki Lighthouse, as seen from a open field below.

Standing at the most southern tip of Minamibōsō Peninsular.

Minamibōsō Shirahama sunrise point.

Beautiful blue ocean and if you look carefully, you can see a whale ship at the horizon.

Do drop by this lighthouse when you happen to visit Tateyama city!

Nojimazaki Lighthouse (野島崎灯台)
Opening hours:
200 yen (including the exhibition hall)
Address: 630 Shirahamacho, Shirahama, Minamibōsō-shi, Chiba Prefecture 295-0102, Japan
Tel: 0470-38-3231
① Train:
From JR Tateyama station (JR 館山駅): Board bus for Shirahama (白浜行き), alight at Nojimazaki-todai (野島崎灯台).
From JR Chikura station (JR 千倉駅): Board bus for Shirahama (白浜行き), alight at Nojimazaki-todaiguchi (野島崎灯台口).
② Keisei Bus:
From JR Chiba Minato station (JR 千葉みなと駅)・Keisei Chiba-chuo station (京成千葉中央駅)・JR Chiba station (JR 千葉駅), board bus that heads to Tateyama station・Shirahama・Nojimazaki (館山駅・白浜・野島崎).
③ Express bus: From Tokyo station Yaesu Exit (東京駅八重洲口) to Awashishirahama (安房白浜), board Boso-nanohana-go (房総なのはな号) express bus.

No comments: