Other Activity

Visiting Tanteidan in Ishigaki Island


Symbiosis of beautiful starry sky and light environment

2024.03.10 Noriko Higashi

The Yaeyama Islands became the first island in Japan to be certified as a starry sky protected area. However it’s still only tentatively certified because about 2% of the outdoor lighting still needs to be improved. How should we think about the nighttime scenery in order to protect the starry sky and to make the night comfortable for local residents? We had a discussion with the citizens along with the Mayor of Ishigaki.
Thank you for joining us, Ishigaki!
The Yaeyama Islands, including Ishigaki Island, are the first area in Japan to be certified by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA, Arizona) as a starry sky protection area. The Yaeyama Islands are provisionally certified because there are still some outdoor lights that need to be renovated. Through the symposium and walking around the town with local people, we explored what kind of nighttime scenery is needed in Ishigaki, where the night sky remains precious dark and tourism is a major industry.
■Symposium “Symbiosis of beautiful starry sky and light environment” was the theme of the lecture by Mr. Mende and tripartite discussion with Mr. Yoshitaka Nakayama, Mayor of Ishigaki City and Ms. Yoko Akagi, General Manager of Ishigaki Island Beach Hotel Sunshine, who is practicing hotel construction in consideration of light pollution. Looking back on the past light pollution countermeasures in the Yaeyama Islands, they exchanged opinions on how to create a light environment while protecting the starry sky in Ishigaki City, where tourism plays a major role in economic activities in the future.
Some stores emit excessive light
The mayor also took the initiative to express his opinion
■Night Walk at Misaki-cho We walked around Misaki-cho, downtown of Ishigaki Island, with locals to search for the heroes and criminals of light in Misaki Town. Participants were given audio receivers to listen to the discussion of Mr. Ochi of the Dark Sky Association and Mr. Mende as they walked the streets. Mayor Nakayama also participated in this town walk, leading the way in pointing out the characteristics of the light of Ishigaki, things to cherish, and things that can be improved. The most conspicuous feature of Misaki Town is the signboard lighting with a long arm attached. Most of the stores use this method to illuminate their signboards, creating a scene unique to Misaki Town. The use of a light source with a warm color temperature seemed to contribute to the overall sense of unity. Participants raised many questions and opinions as they walked, to which Mr. Mende and Mr. Ochi responded.
The arm is extended to illuminate the sign. We can see many this type of lighting in Ishigaki
■Night Walk Review After walking around the city, the participants were divided into groups to discuss heroes and criminals of light, and then shared their findings with the entire group. Common comments included the following: illuminations with unclear targets are might be unnecessary, lights should be directed to the targets, lights in unused facilities and streets should be turned off, and lights that are too strong or too many should be reduced. The most highly rated were signboards that emerged with indirect light and light leaking from inside buildings. The lack of glare from the light sources was a nice touch. We were able to learn the opinions of many people through the town walk and reviews. We hope that these activities will continue in the future to realize a better nighttime landscape in Yaeyama. (Noriko Higashi)
Night Walk Review: Heroes and Villains Shared by All