The Anorisaki Lighthouse was designed and constructed by British engineerRichard Henry Brunton, and was first lit on April 1, 1873. It is noteworthy in that it is the first lighthouse in Japan to use a rotating Fresnel lens. The octagonal structure was built of Zelkova serrata wood, and had a total height of 10.6 metres. Brunton constructed a total of 25 lighthouses in Japan from far northern Hokkaidō to southern Kyūshū during his career in Japan, each with a different design. Although Anorisaki Lighthouse was the 20th of the 25 built by Brunton, it was the oldest with a wooden construction.
This lighthouse was relocated five meters inland from its original location in 1911 due to coastal erosion. It was electrified in 1932. In 1948, it was replaced by a more modern design, and the original structure designed by Brunton was relocated to the Museum of Maritime Science in Tokyo.
The modern replacement was completed in August 1948, and is a square ferro-concrete structure with a total height of 12.7 metres. The lens was upgraded to a 4th order Fresnel in 1950. The lighthouse was fully automated and has been unattended since October 1988. From April 29, 2004 it has been open to the public for tours, with a small museum attached containing displays about the filming of the 1957 Japanese movie Yorokobi mo kanashimi mo ikutoshitsuki.