The lushly verdant cityscape of Sendai, the City of Trees, is gently illuminated with pole lights that have been upgraded to LED lights.
The gas lamps installed at the west exit of Sendai Station, the gateway to Tohoku, were put in place when the municipal subway's Namboku Line opened in 1987, and have since then continued to illuminate the area around the station with warm light at night. The lights number 117, the largest such installation in Japan, and the cityscape around Sendai Station's west exit illuminated by the gas lamps helps to create a bustling city. The gas lamps include some with poles on which a miniature statue of Masamune Date on horseback is mounted, and this tasteful scenery worthy of the City of Trees has widespread popularity among the city's residents.
30 years have passed since the installation of the lights, and with problems such as corrosion and the lights not turning on caused by deterioration over time being found in more than 100 units and 200 gas lamps (of the 117 units and 238 gas lamps installed), a renovation plan has been formulated by Sendai City, with the decision being made for some of the lights to be removed and the remainder upgraded to LED over five years starting in FY2018. Of the existing lights, 8 twin-lamp lights will be upgraded but remain as gas lamps.
The current renovation work is part of the second year of renovations, and in order to maintain the attractive cityscape of Sendai, which is a major city in the Tohoku region, the most important issue was making the switch to LED lighting without changing the external design of the lighting fixtures, so fully custom-order lighting fixtures were designed. In order to have the LED lamps deliver something close to the soft and warm light unique to gas lamps called "lemon-color", lighting tests with 3 units using different lamps were carried out. Citizens were then asked about how they looked via a questionnaire, after which the final selection was made. In addition, the poles were repainted and reused after being checked for deterioration and verified for strength and soundness, creating a comfortable and tasteful cityscape that retains the previous nostalgic atmosphere even after its upgrade to LED light.
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