難波の南蛮、戎橋の夷。

Mapping Japanese City Spaces: Sendai

Tohoku, the chilly region on the northeast end of Honshu, is not known for its urbania.  In the last few centuries, there has been one city that can be called a Tohoku metropolis- Sendai.  In the feudal age it was one of the largest castle towns not under direct Shogunate control, at times the third largest after Kanazawa and Hiroshima.  It lost some population after the fall of the feudal order, but remained in or around the lower Top 10 afterwards, even growing right through the 1940s.

 


 

You can click on any map to enlarge it.

Sendai Metro Area, 1960-2010 Time Elapse

Sendai Metro Area, 1960-2010 Time Elapse

 


 

Sendai Metro Area, 1960

Sendai Metro Area, 1960

Sendai had already grown far beyond the confines of the old castle city by 1960, with a few far-flung satellite towns to the south all the way to Shibata.

Sendai Metro Area     357,559     10th
Shiogama Micro Area     45,417     96th

Sendai City     335,979     12th
94.0% of metro area

 


 

Sendai Metro Area, 1970

Sendai Metro Area, 1970

Urban Sendai expanded significantly in the 1960s.  The port city of Shiogama joined the employment area, and the broad new suburb of Tagajo emerged to its south.  Sendai City’s drop in rank, despite its expansion, reflected the massive nationwide growth of major Japanese cities at the time.

Sendai Metro Area     564,637     10th     + 57.9%
Taiwa     5,589     [new DID]

Sendai City     439,290     15th     + 30.7%     – 3 ranks
77.8% of metro area     – 16.2% of metro area

 


 

Sendai Metro Area, 1980

Sendai Metro Area, 1980

Rapid growth continued through the 1970s.  Sendai City and the area around Shiogama grew towards each other, and the city of Izumi, on Sendai’s north side, emerged as a major suburb.  More growth happened to the south in this period, with Natori and Iwanuma spreading out and developing.

Sendai Metro Area     821,975     10th     + 45.6%

Sendai City     584,140     14th     + 33.0%     + 1 rank
71.1% of metro area     – 6.7% of metro area

 


 

Sendai Metro Area, 1990

Sendai Metro Area, 1990

In the 1980s it was the city proper that developed the most, expanding mostly north and east, connecting to the Shiogama area, annexing Izumi City and dividing into wards.

Sendai Metro Area     980,798     10th     + 19.3%

Sendai City     774,143     13th     + 32.5%     + 1 rank
78.9% of metro area     + 7.8% of metro area

 


 

Sendai Metro Area, 2000

Sendai Metro Area, 2000

Sendai sustained major growth even during the “slowdown period” of the 1990s, resulting in the urban area finally shifting rank and passing Kitakyushu.  This growth mostly took the form of large numbers of small suburban developments to the north and west of the city center, in the hilly inlands.  Izumi Ward also filled in significantly on the north end of town.

Sendai Metro Area     1,149,274     9th     + 17.2%     + 1 rank

Sendai City     892,252     12th     + 15.3%     + 1 rank
77.6% of metro area     – 1.3% of metro area

 


 

Sendai Metro Area, 2010

Sendai Metro Area, 2010

Sendai’s urban growth has slowed down markedly since 2000, with only small developments still emerging to the north and west.  The area has gained another rank and passed Hiroshima, but this is less due to Greater Sendai’s growth than the fragmentation of Hiroshima’s outer suburbs caused by shifting borders after the recent wave of municipal mergers.

Sendai Metro Area     1,206,718     8th     + 5.0%     + 1 rank

Sendai City     931,677     12th     + 4.4%
77.2% of metro area     – 0.4% of metro area

 

The epicenter of the March 11th, 2011 earthquake was offshore from the Sendai area, and coastal suburbs like Shiogama and Natori were among the most damaged by the tsunami.  Urban Sendai City was largely unscathed though, being more securely inland.  As a result the city has actually fared rather well, with not only the city proper but its inland suburbs growing significantly.  Even Natori’s coastal flats have been recovering pretty well.  The more traditional port area around Shiogama still shows diminished population though, as do many of the port cities on the east cost of Tohoku.

 

If there’s any city or region of Japan you’d like to see, just ask me in the comments!  Really, I do requests!

 

National land numerical information (densely inhabited district data)
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
1960: A16-60_04_DID.shp
1965: A16-65_04_DID.shp
1970:
A16-70_04_DID.shp
1975: A16-75_04_DID.shp
1980: A16-80_04_DID.shp
1985: A16-85_04_DID.shp
1990: A16-90_04_DID.shp
1995: A16-95_04_DID.shp
2000: A16-00_04_DID.shp
2005: A16-05_04_DID.shp
2010: A16-10_04_DID.shp
Processed and edited in ArcGIS Explorer
Microsoft Bing Maps used as basemap

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2 responses

  1. Luis

    Hello! Great maps, Ive been trying to make my own maps but I cant find where do you get the information of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism web page, could you explain me how to get the map information?

    January 6, 2017 at 11:18 PM

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