Sometimes it pays to look down

One of my favourite things to take pictures of in Japan were the manhole covers.    I first noticed it only in the area we were staying in and thought it was unique to our area and a really beautiful idea.  Then I started noticing them in each area we visited, sometimes with more than one design in an area.  They are so unique and eye-catching to me, I have become a bit obsessed with them 🙂  Everywhere we went I tried to take photos of the new area’s cover.  It led to a lot of falling behind the group and a lot of people staring at the weird gaijin taking photos of the ground.  It also led to me wondering how this even got started. Turns out that during the 80’s the Japanese public was against replacing the old sewer systems until a politician put a new spin on the idea.  He suggested and then put into motion the idea of decorated manhole covers, each unique to the local area. They are beautiful displays of art, local history and civic pride all at once.  I wish there were more utility art in the world like this!

Here are some of my favorites that I found mainly around Tokyo (I wish I could collect them all):20 21 22 23 24 25 26 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1228 14 15 16 17 18 19


…that last one may or may not be from Japan.


Turns out I am not the only one obsessed with the manhole covers!  To see more check out this flickr group:

or just google, ” japanese manhole covers”   and check out the images, they are so vibrant and beautiful!





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