Mihonoseki – Maritime transport brings Japan prosperity because the shape of the country consists of many islands. The country’s lighthouses have played an important role in saving the lives of seamen since the Meiji era when the beacons were introduced all over the country.
Mihonoseki Lighthouse has shed light on coastal waters – 23.5 nautical miles or 44 kilometres – from Cape Jizo in the northeast part of the Shimane Peninsula for more than 130 years. The lighthouse has contributed to maritime safety navigation.
However, the lighthouse has never forgotten the 1927’s tragedy.
On 24th August 1927, the Imperial Japanese Navy executed its massive military exercise off the cape to knock out its opponent across the Pacific. Despite the bad weather, the drill was normally continued. Japan’s navy ships did not have radar then, so the sailors’ eyesight was the only way to grasp the sea condition.
“Hard a port and stop two(sides) and then a full astern”, the captain of IJNS Jintsu(5,595tons) yelled out an order trying to avoid collision with IJNS Warabi(850tons) when he found the consort destroyer navigation ahead of him. Unfortunately, the cruiser’s evasive manoeuvring missed the right timing, leading the destroyer to sink off the lighthouse with her 92 crew into the sea.
And one minute later, another cruiser IJNS Naka (5,595 tons), following Jintsu, also collided with a destroyer IJNS Ashi(850 tons), causing ruin with 27 lost crew. This incident is the most tragic of maritime accidents near the lighthouse.
The lighthouse has continued to throw light over the sea’s surface off the cape since the accident happened with a sorrowful memory.
Mihonoseki lighthouse, now operated by Japan Coast Guard, was built in 1898 by a French architect. The lighthouse is the old one in the San’in area(Shimane and Tottori) and was also selected to be one of the “hundred lighthouses in the world by the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities.
Its beautiful appearance and the scenery from the lighthouse’s location are so spectacular as to entice many visitors, even though it exists in a remote rural area.
25 minutes by car from Yonago AP
40 minutes by car from JR Matsue Station