Tokyo Has a Festival to Pay Tribute to the Art of Japanese Manhole Covers

Japanese Manhole Covers

Kawaguchiko Lake. (Photo: Stock Photos from hayachanta/Shutterstock)
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, My Modern Met may earn an affiliate commission. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Japan designs manhole covers so beautiful that they're actually works of art. Across the country, thousands of municipalities have designed unique manhole covers to demonstrate their unique local cultures, and now the Japanese Manhole Cover Festival celebrates this creativity. The festival, which takes place in Tokyo, promises three days of activities dedicated to the artistic manhole covers.

From February 1 to February 3, 2019, the Shinjuku Takashimaya department store is hosting a range of events, including an exhibition of actual manhole covers from around the country. Next door, at Tokyu Hands Shinjuku, there will be a whole range of manhole cover collectibles for sale. This includes pencils, stickers, books, as well as small versions of selected manhole covers. These limited edition collectibles will remain on sale until February 24, 2019.

Visitors will also be able to snack on macaroons, cookies, and other sweets decorated with some of the country's most popular manhole cover designs. If you can't make it over to Tokyo for the event, you might want to pick up a copy of Drainspotting. This 2010 book by Remo Camerota celebrates this unique Japanese phenomenon.

Since the 1980s municipalities in Japan have designed their own unique manhole covers to celebrate their individuality.

Manhole Cover Art in Japan

Osaka. (Photo: Stock Photos from Aldelo Piomica/Shutterstock)

Japanese Manhole Covers

Nara. (Photo: Stock Photos from Tupungato/Shutterstock)

Japanese Manhole Covers

Matsumoto. (Photo: Stock Photos from MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN/Shutterstock)

Manhole Cover Art in Japan

Tokyo. (Photo: Stock Photos from Tupungato/Shutterstock)

A new festival in Tokyo pays tribute the art of Japanese manhole covers.

Manhole Cover Art in Japan

Atami. (Photo: Stock Photos from Morumotto/Shutterstock)

Manhole Cover Art in Japan

Okayama. (Photo: Stock Photos from f11photo/Shutterstock)

Japanese Manhole Covers

Kumamoto. (Photo: Stock Photos from MrNovel/Shutterstock)

Special sweets will be created for the occasion and there will be a display of some of the most popular manhole cover art.

Japanese Manhole Cover Festival

Japanese Manhole Cover Festival

h/t: [Spoon & Tamago]

Related Articles:

What is Kawaii? Discover What Led to Japan’s Culture of Cuteness

Mini Trucks in Japan Are Being Transformed Into Enchanting Tiny Gardens

Japanese Artist Handcrafts Hair Accessories That Look Like Delicate Flowers

“Pirate Printers” Are Using Manhole Covers to Print Urban Designs Directly onto Shirts and Totes

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content