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Take a Look at the Beautifully Designed Manhole Covers of Japan

Nagareyama Chiba, manhole cover (千葉県流山市のマンホール)

There are many sights to see when visiting Japan. And while Mount Fuji, Tokyo Tower, and Kyoto are likely at the top of many people’s lists, there are many niche things to enjoy as well. One of them requires you to look down when you walk. Since 1980, Japan has had a tradition of decorating manhole covers as a way to encourage local tourism. Ranging from colorful florals to animals and pop culture references, these designs are public works of art.

YouTube channel Process X shared a mini-documentary about how these manhole covers are made at the Hinode Water Equipment Co. factory. Each one is a result of melting pieces of scrap metal into a circular shape and then meticulously adding paint by hand to achieve a stunning effect. When placed on streets, the colorful touches transform the industrial feature into something beautiful to behold.

All across Japan, you can find a diverse array of manhole covers belonging to different municipalities. Some of the most popular designs feature Mount Fuji and Himeji Castle; however, there are many others, too. Some of the most recent additions feature Pokémon characters. Prefectures carefully choose a Pocket Monster that best represents their area's qualities.

Scroll down to see more colorful manhole designs.

Since 1980, Japan has had a tradition of decorating manhole covers.

kouchi Hiroshima, manhole cover (広島県河内町のマンホール3)

Minamata Kumamoto, manhole cover 3 (熊本県水俣市のマンホール3)

They add colorful works of art to these functional metal surfaces.

Misato Miyazaki, manhole cover 7 (宮崎県美郷町のマンホール)

Shirakawa Fukushima, manhole cover (福島県白河市のマンホール)

The designs range from flora to animals to Pokémon characters.

Nagoya Aichi, manhole cover 2 (愛知県名古屋市のマンホール2)

Ibusuki Kagoshima, manhole cover (鹿児島県指宿市のマンホール)

Minowa Nagano, manhole cover (長野県箕輪町のマンホール)

Toyoda Shizuoka, manhole cover (静岡県豊田町のマンホール)

Kyoto city Kyoto prefecture, manhole cover 4 (京都府京都市のマンホール4)

Oita city Oita pref, manhole cover (大分県大分市のマンホール)

Higashiyamato Tokyo, manhole cover (東京都東大和市のマンホール)

Kotohira Kagawa, manhole cover (香川県琴平町のマンホール2)

Omitama Ibaraki, manhole cover (茨城県小美玉市のマンホール)

Yamato Kanagawa, manhole cover (神奈川県大和市のマンホール)

Toyono Osaka, manhole cover (大阪府豊能町のマンホール)

Mizuho Tokyo, manhole cover (東京都瑞穂町のマンホール)

Tsukuba Ibaraki, manhole cover (茨城県つくば市のマンホール)

Japanese Manhole Covers: Flickr

Related Articles:

Watch How Colorful Japanese Manhole Covers Are Made on This Short Documentary

Japan’s Manhole Covers Colorfully Decorate the Streets of Each Prefecture

Japan Installs 16 Pokémon-Themed Manhole Covers in Honor of Slowpoke

Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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