Way back in the year 1603, the top leader of Japan, called 将軍 "Shogun", established a new capitol city in 江戸 "Edo" (now known as 東京/Tokyo). This shifted things away from Japan's traditional capitol of Kyoto (京都), and Edo steadily developed into the main center of political and economic power. As Edo grew larger, so did the number of boats and vessels which carried cargoes towards the city. Due to this situation, and in order to ensure safer navigation, the Shogun's government ordered the construction of a lighthouse near the entrance to Edo Bay (Tokyo Bay), and the site chosen for the facility was a small cape called Tomyo-saki (燈明埼), near the town of Uraga (a district in present day Yokosuka City). The lighthouse (called Tomyo-Do, 燈明堂) started to be used in 1648, and then continued operations for 220 years, until it was dismantled in in the early-1870s. Its illuminating light was produced by burning rapeseed or fish oils and it could cast a beam 7.4 kilometers out into the busy channel where boats and vessels entered Edo Bay. In 1988, a real-sized replica of the Tomyo-Do lighthouse was built on the original site, and it has become a local landmark which reminds visitors of the Yokosuka area's olden days. Of interest, located adjacent to the lighthouse is Tomyo-Do Kaigan, which is a rare, small, and unspoiled natural beach facing Tokyo Bay. It has a parking lot which is open from 05:30~21:30 and is a great place to go relax & enjoy the sea breeze while watching all the ships and boats sailing in the bay. Japan is an ancient country, and like other cities and towns, Yokosuka has a long & rich history -- Tomyo-Do is a scenic location where that history can be sensed. We hope you will have a chance to visit Tomyo-saki lighthouse and beach!
Written by Goodfield