Manhole Cover Art, Saitama prefecture, Japan
Manhole Cover Art
I used to think I was an observant person, until my cousin sent me an article about manhole covers in Japan. I was in Japan more than 10 years when she sent me the link about the ornate manhole covers here. My first instinct was that it must be in a part of Japan that I have never visited…
Then I started looking down
and sure enough each city’s manhole cover is different.
Often they are representative of the city. For example, I recently posted about the 100 caves of Yoshimi, which is the design of the manhole covers in the that city.
Some are in colour, but most are etched into the steel without colour.
In recent years, there are even anime themed manhole covers. Such as this “Lucky Star” manhole in the Washinomiya area of Kuki:
Even the fire hydrant manholes have their own special images.
You can now (2015) buy manhole cards from select locations around Japan. They will eventually become more widespread, but right now only a handful of places have them. In Saitama, one place I know of that already sells the coveted collector cards is the Saitama Museum of Rivers in Yorii.
LED / Anime Manhole Covers
Update: Since November 2020, thanks to Tokorozawa Sakura Town, Saitama Prefecture now has 28 LED anime manhole covers. Moreover, since November 2021 we have some Pokemon Manhole Covers too. More information:
So if you plan to come to Japan, remember to look down! Not only will you see something unique to Japan, but you will also learn something about the area you are visiting. For those who have visited or live here; have / did you notice/d them!?
There is a fantastic selection of manholes over at the Land of Wa; https://dustinandlaura.blogspot.jp/search/label/Manholes
The wonderful blogger behind Shizuoka gourmet often blogs about this topic and I see he recently posted an in-depth article about it, with fantastic photos, be sure to check it out.
Update: This was the very first post in a series I used to call Manhole Monday. For a while, I shared a different manhole cover each Monday. I am sorry if you came to this post from a redirect from my old “Manhole Monday” posts. Unfortunately, I discontinued that series around 2019, deleted the posts and redirected the old posts to this one. I will try and update this one from time to time with some new ones. And at some stage I hope to add the photos from the Manhole Monday posts into this one.