Japan's Beautiful Manhole Covers
Japan is a country thats known for approaching every task with tremendous amounts of care and attention to detail. It’s no surprise then that the manhole covers there are each beautiful works of art!
We couldn’t resist snapping shots of each unique manhole cover that we came across during our last visit to Japan.
As we photographed and examined all these manhole cover designs, we found out that there are thousands of different designs - each from municipalities from all over Japan that highlight their own unique local culture.
It began in the 1980’s, when Japan installed a modern underground sewer countrywide. In order to generate some PR around the project, each local municipality chose to decorate the access points, otherwise known as manholes. After that, they continued to decorate and update the manhole covers to what we see today. They are a true celebration of Japan’s individuality and regional pride.
People from all across Japan travel to see all the different designs in a movement lovingly called ‘drainspotting’. In this craze, you’ll see fans clamoring to see and visit as many manhole cover designs as possible. Of course, there are so many souvenirs, memorabilia, t-shirts, and collectibles related to all this. You can even claim the absolute Japanese Manhole Nerd title by attending Japan’s Manhole Festival in Tokyo.