Manhole Covers In Japan Have Been Made Into Incredible Works Of Art

Most of us pass over manhole covers, those heavy metal discs capping off the entry points to the sewer system, every day and never pay them any mind. Why would you? 

In Japan, where urban planning is elevated to an art form, the manhole cover is a perfect circular canvas for this colorful depiction of cherry blossoms in Nankou, Osaka.

Japan manhole covers

This Nara Buddhist temple, Horyu-ji, flanked by autumn flowers, just begs you to stop and admire it.

Japan manhole covers

These manhole covers bring color and beauty to the city.

Japan manhole covers

Each municipality has a different manhole cover design.

Japan manhole covers

These aren’t just for display, though. The designs and colors are durable enough to withstand being walked on, driven on and the elements.

Japan manhole covers

This manhole shows a children’s handball game called temari.

Japan manhole covers

As you might imagine, samurai are very popular.

Japan manhole covers

Tokyo pays this adorable tribute to its firefighters.

Japan manhole covers

And this manga-style firefighter tribute. Since firefighters use the manholes, they are often depicted in the covers.

Japan manhole covers

Of course, local flora and fauna are very common, like this cover in the Nara Prefecture.

Japan manhole covers

The star shape of historic Fort Goryokaku gets a brightly colored celebration with the city’s public hall.

Japan manhole covers

The “Bell of Time” bell tower of Kawagoe is a local attraction.

Japan manhole covers

Ikoma City has an Art Deco robot.

Japan manhole covers

Nagoya makes waves with its cute gerridae bug.

Japan manhole covers

Chiba’s looks too colorful to possibly be true.

Japan manhole covers

While this monochromatic cherry blossom tree is beautifully understated.

Japan manhole covers

Kamakura’s incorporates local granite for color and pattern.

Japan manhole covers

Hiroshima’s baseball team, the Carp, gets a shoutout here.

Japan manhole covers

Can you tell that the city of Hokkaido is very proud of their famous squid dishes?

Japan manhole covers

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