In 95% of Japan’s 1,780 municipalities you will find artistic manhole covers unique to each city and town. It has become apart of the country’s national culture and it’s fascinating to see the different designs and styles that each town and city has chosen to represent them. With over 6,000 manhole cover artworks, it’s no surprise that spotting and photographing them has become a hobby for many.
Apparently all manhole covers are forged in Nagashima Foundry from carved master plates that have all been preserved in a central library. To learn more about the amazing manhole cover art of Japan there’s plenty of resources: there’s a Japanese website with locations and information; a book called ‘Drainspotting‘; a Flickr group with several thousand images; and a wonderful individual collection by S Morito (MRSY on Flickr) with over 352 different manhole covers.
Random factoid: Manhole covers are round so the covers can never accidentally fall inside. Brilliant!