Chances are you have a image in your head when you hear the words “Japanese art”. You probably imagine a Ukiyoe print of Mount Fuji or perhaps a Sumi painting. You almost certainly are not reminded of the covers over sewer holes. Yet, that’s exactly where you’ll find a unique form of Japanese arts.
In Japan almost everything takes on a certain artistic quality, and manhole covers are no exception. The artwork on Japanese manhole covers varies from city-to-city. Some covers display images representative of a city’s unique culture, while others display icons that are representative of the function of the hole they are covering.
Japanese manhole covers are so interesting that a veritable cult of manhole lovers has emerged on the internet. Enthusiasts have built extensive galleries of manhole cover images from around the country, and an Association of Manhole Cover Watchers organizes walking tours for fellow connoisseurs.
So the next time you find yourself wandering the streets of Japan looking for something interesting or artistic, make sure you take a moment to look down at the ground.