Utility Covers of Japan

By now, you know I love collecting photos of utility covers (sewer caps, manholes, whatever you want to call them) from places I travel, because it turns out, these often-overlooked chunks of metal that mainly just get stepped on when they’re lucky, perhaps peed on, pooped on or barfed on when they are unlucky, are often surprisingly detailed and in Japan, frequently include local landmarks and other designs unique to the area. Obviously, there are people who are putting a lot of love, thought and effort into these pieces.

I’ve showcased some Japanese ones before here from our 2011 trip, and some from Seoul here (and someday when I’m back in the US, because I suppose I have to go back sometime, I will upload some of the lovely ones from Ireland and England I’ve taken before. I wish I’d known to pay attention to these when I was traveling throughout Europe as a college student, but it wasn’t until my grad school Ireland days that I started to notice how cool they could be. In part because Ireland has such lovely ones!)

Here are some of the ones I’ve found in travels around Japan this time around:

Himeji, Hyoogo Prefecture


Horyuji, Nara Prefecturehoryuji

Nara, Nara Prefecture


Osaka, Osaka Prefecture


Takayama, Gifu Prefecture


Ainokura, Gokayama region of Toyama Prefecture


Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecturekanazawa

Mt. Takao, Hachioji, Tokyo Prefecture takao-xNaoshima, Kagawa Prefecture


Here are some closer to home, as well: different wards in the city of Tokyo:




Ueno Park

(I am embarrassed not to have any from Takadanobaba – they have a huge cherry blossom on the covers both small and large, and when a certain Aardvark is grumbling about being made to walk miles every day, we often distract her by asking her to find and count all the cherry blossoms. That’s probably why I haven’t taken a photo yet: I notice them most often when we are just moments away from a meltdown on D & I are on High Alert.)

These photos are just the large “manhole” or utility covers; many places also have lovely designs on the smaller sewer and other caps, as well:

Left to right, from the top:

Himeji, Nara

Osaka, Kamakura

Mt. Takao, Nara again



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