Sunday, June 4, 2017

Going to Japan?--Be Sure to go Drain-Spotting

manhole cover, Japan

If you are going to Japan, you should know to "drain spot."

Japanese manhole covers are works of art.

Remo Camerota cleverly termed noticing and photographing them, "drain spotting."

Nearly all of Japan's 1,789 municipalities have their own specialized design.

Here are the ones I saw in prefectures north of Tokyo:

Its a manhole cover, and more:

manhole cover, Japan

Virtually all cities and towns designed individualized colored manhole covers but they are expensive to make and so are not put just anywhere. Uncolored ones with the same picture can be put in higher traffic areas since there's no color to chip off. Some manholes lead to sewers and others to electric installations and so on, so the cover must indicate where it goes, leading to more styles, some fancier than others.



And then, I found a full-color one!  It was in Akita, the prefecture that gave us the dog breed, akita (photos). Can anyone out there explain why the dog appears to be wearing a University of Nebraska football jersey?

Drain cover, Japan

As you can see, being outdoors and run over is hard on the colors.

The "cloud" in the center is the emblem of the city of Shibata in Niigata Prefecture (link)

so I guess this is another city in Niigata, but I can't confirm that

Is this very plain one foreign-made, since it lists a company in English?

I really liked the fish: 

And this--my prize find--was from Shibata, Niigata Prefecture (see the Shibata "cloud"?) 

Going to Japan?  Be sure not to miss drain-spotting!

Comments and corrections welcome.

Thanks to Neil Guiney for keeping my eye to the ground: this post is for you.

Camerota, R. 2010. Drainspotting: Japanese manhole covers. Mark Batty Publisher

Websites with draincovers   --because I barely scratched the surface--

Kathy Keeler, A Wandering Botanist
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  1. What fun this is! Thanks for sharing it and for the cleverness of the project.


  2. I'll audit this blog as An and it exhibits how much effort has been put into this.moved here