In Japan look down – creative manhole covers

Japan captures your attention from the moment you step out of the airport. The sounds, the sights and the flavours – no matter where you go and what you do, there is always something interesting. In all that craziness, it’s easy to miss yet another fascinating thing – manhole covers.

Stylized, very often also in colour, they can be found just about anywhere in Japan. They usually picture something connected to the place where they are – for example in Nara they have a picture of a deer on them. Little pieces of art right under your feet.

Is drainspotting a thing?

Apparently yes. There are hundreds of websites with big collections of manhole covers photos, there is a book and even a Japanese Society of Manhole Covers.

I had no idea it’s such a big thing while we were in Japan – I was taking photos of the covers because I thought they’re interesting but didn’t really pay much attention. Next time in Japan, I plan on joining the drain spotting movement!

Edit 27/02/2017: check out this great video about the manholes:

In Japan look down - creative manhole covers

Have you been to Japan? Did you notice the manhole covers?

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  • Reply
    October 28, 2015 at 1:25 am

    They are beautiful and remind me of the ones we have in Germany (although the Germans don’t have any Color I think). Some of them should hang in a Museum rather than be placed below people’s feet 🙂

  • Reply
    November 2, 2015 at 12:22 am

    I’ve been to Japan so many times but never noticed the manhole covers! Thanks for pointing them out, definitely something to look out for next time I’m there. 🙂 They are amazing pieces of art!

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