Wednesday 1 April 2015


I've just returned to Australia from a very busy but fascinating trip to Japan. One thing that stood out to me while I was there was the pride that the Japanese people take in making their surroundings pleasing to the eye. This is obvious in their gardens and temples but even everyday items of life, such as street manhole covers, are considered worthy of receiving the decorative touch. Some were outstanding, almost like works of art.

I'm not sure, but I may have been the only Aussie tourist in Japan that got excited over these decorative manhole covers and who had to keep stopping every 5 minutes to take some photos of them. I kept imagining how great they would look all displayed on my shed back home in Australia. They might even be the ultimate man cave collectable from Japan. Although I'm not sure the Japanese government would look very favourably on anyone trying to stow a few of these in their luggage when they left the country. And just imagine the excess baggage cost you would incur at the airport. Hence I only took photos to share. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Small coloured cover from Tokyo near the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden (one of Tokyo's oldest and best Japanese gardens)

Large brightly coloured cover from Kanazawa featuring the stone lantern from  the famous  Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa

The actual stone lantern in Kenrokuen Garden featured on the above cover.

A really nice coloured round cover from Osaka featuring Osaka Castle surrounded by cherry blossoms.
Osaka Castle featured on the cover above

Another nice decorative round cover from the gardens that surround Osaka Castle and again featuring the castle.

Some of the fire services manhole covers are particularly colourful and in some cases pretty cute as well.
No mistaking the purpose of this cover. Nice red fire engine from Osaka.

Cute little yellow firefighter with his fire truck from Toyota (the city near Nagoya, not the car)

Another two small covers which most likely identify water mains.

Another cover from Toyota

Some larger round covers

A decorative cover from Takayama

A very decorative cover from Toyota

A cover from Kyoto
Another Kyoto cover

The last 5 covers are not literally Japanese manhole covers but instead, American manhole covers. These covers are all from Universal Studios in Osaka. Just to add authenticity to the film sets.  

There were still a lot more different manhole covers to see but the ones featured here were probably some of the most interesting. Now, wonder what they do with the old covers when they no longer need them. I'm sure I could find a spot for a few!


  1. They are really cool! I can see why you liked them so much.

  2. Beautiful photos! And I would have taken pictures of the covers too. They are so interesting and pretty. I love that they are all different too.

    1. Thanks Marti,
      I am sure there were many other spectacular ones that I missed as well. Sometimes it does pay to keep your eyes on the ground!

  3. Last year i have visited in Japan. I have seen same thing in the Japan that they are used artistic manhole covers. First time i did not believe that it was manhole covers. Thanks!!

  4. I also look for them every time we visit. I have photos of lots from all over Japan. Inwonder f there is alist or map of them?

    1. A map would be most helpful as I believe there are around 12,000 different manhole cover designs in Japan. glad you enjoy them as well.


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