Japanese Lighthouse (Garapan, Saipan)

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Japanese Lighthouse
The lighthouse before 1990
Japanese Lighthouse (Garapan, Saipan) is located in Northern Mariana Islands
Japanese Lighthouse (Garapan, Saipan)
Location Navy Hill
Northern Mariana Islands
Coordinates 15°12′42.3″N 145°43′53.9″E / 15.211750°N 145.731639°E / 15.211750; 145.731639Coordinates: 15°12′42.3″N 145°43′53.9″E / 15.211750°N 145.731639°E / 15.211750; 145.731639
Year first constructed 1934
Deactivated 1944
Construction concrete tower
Tower shape cylindrical towerwith balcony and lantern
Height ~50 ft (15 m)
ARLHS number MAI-001
Designated December 19, 1974
Reference no. 74002224[1]
Governing body Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

The Japanese Lighthouse is an abandoned lighthouse situated atop Navy Hill in Garapan, Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The lighthouse is one of the few surviving pre-World War II, civilian structures built by the Japanese.[2]


The Japanese Lighthouse is an approximately 50-foot -tall (15 m), white concrete tower with an attached to a one-story lighthouse keeper's quarters.[3] The concrete used in the construction of the lighthouse was produced from burnt coral and seashells, but weathers easily.[4]


The lighthouse was constructed in 1934 to assist ships navigating into Tanapag Harbor on the western coast of Saipan.[2] At the time, Saipan was governed by the Empire of Japan as part of its South Pacific Mandate. The lighthouse was in operation until 1944 when it sustained damage from an American naval bombardment in the Battle of Saipan.[2] During the war, the lighthouse was never rebuilt and, after the war, remained abandoned. The copper dome, however, was removed and put into storage.[4] The Japanese Lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 19, 1974.[1]

In 1990, the lighthouse was renovated and expanded to be used as a restaurant; the dome was returned to the top of the tower not long after.[5] The restaurant was closed in 1994–1995. The graffiti-covered lighthouse was repainted in 2007.[6] It was proposed to be the location of a visitor center for the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument in 2010.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "NPS Focus". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Lotz 1974, sec. 8.
  3. ^ Rowlett, Russ (September 13, 2012). "Garapan Light, Saipan". Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Lotz 1974, sec. 7.
  5. ^ Brinson, Linda C. "Garapan Lighthouse, Northern Mariana Islands". 10 Most Endangered Lighthouses in the World. HowStuffWorks. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ Calindas, Marconi (September 11, 2007). "Lighthouse gets a facelift". Saipan Tribune. Retrieved July 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ Eungenio, Haidee V (April 16, 2010). "CNMI works on Lighthouse report for possible visitors center site". Saipan Tribune. Retrieved July 10, 2013.