Decorative Manhole Covers

When I first explored Okayama during my Amity training week, I couldn’t help but notice the manholes. Every time I would look down, especially when taking pictures of my feet, I noticed the intricately designed and colored manhole covers. I thought that was such an interesting thing for Okayama to do! What I didn’t realize at the time was that most cities in Japan decorate their manhole covers.

According to this blog the manhole covers are made of metal and are often painted bright colors. The city decides what they would like on their manhole covers and it can be anything from seasonal pictures, to city cultural gems, to practical descriptions (like the one I’m standing on above), to local sports teams like the Hiroshima Carps Baseball team depicted here. This blog states that manhole covers can be found in 95% of Japan’s prefectures and that the trend started in the 1980s The blog goes on to say that the covers were made “with designs inspired by the region’s cultural identity (mythology, history, culture, etc.).” 

I don’t recall all of the manhole covers I have seen. My current city, Nishi-Akashi, is know for the world’s longest extension bridge and therefore there are bridges on all of our sewer covers. The Kobe manhole covers have anchors on them because Kobe is known for its ports. I’ll continue to keep an eye out for unique manhole covers and post pictures as I find them!

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