Manhole Covers

5 Jan

I have always noticed the decorated manhole covers in the streets of Japan.

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Have you ever noticed them before?
They have raised designs on them. Most are really intricate and detailed.

There is a practical reason for this. When the first manhole covers were made in Japan, they were plain and smooth…and in wet weather, slippery and dangerous! So the government demanded that all manhole covers have raised, cross-pattern designs to prevent people from slipping on them…kinda like tread on a tire or the bottom of shoes.

So, local governments began having their manhole covers made with designs and pictures that depict unique aspects of their town. So, walking around the streets of Japan, you can see many interesting manhole covers.

I’ve only taken photos of a few of them…when they really impressed me.

Here are a couple of photos I took of manhole covers with  消火栓 (fire hydrant) underneath:

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Of course, it’s illegal to park your car over manhole covers that have fire plugs under them…so there’s always a sign above them alerting drivers (and firefighters) to the presence of the hydrant:

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But there are people who travel around the country trying to take photos of as many manhole covers as they can. It’s their hobby.

I just discovered a website where people can upload photos of manhole covers in Japan…and vote on the photos, by clicking on a button below the photo that says 「すげぇ!」 (Wow!).

Click here to visit the website (日本語 (Japanese) only).

There are also hand-made souvenir 記念スタンプ (ink stamps) and many train stations, zoos, museums, etc around Japan.

Here’s one for 上野駅 (Ueno train station):

ueno-stamp

When we go somewhere that has a hand-made souvenir 記念スタンプ (ink stamp), I sometimes get one as a memento…but not always.

But, as with the manhole cover photos, there are people who collect these as a hobby. And, of course, there are websites with photos of them.

Click here to visit one of these sites (also in 日本語 (Japanese) only).

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22 Responses to “Manhole Covers”

  1. Yuki December 1, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    I like the colorful firefighter’s one! Very cute.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 2, 2011 at 12:42 am #

      Yeah, I like that one, too.

      Like

  2. tokyo5 January 20, 2009 at 11:58 pm #

    I just added a photo I took today of 消火栓 (fire hydrant) manhole cover…(and the sign above them) to this post.

    Like

  3. tokyo5 January 14, 2009 at 9:41 pm #

    gerd…

    No problem. Hope I was a help.

    Like

  4. gerd January 14, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    Thanks a lot! I understand now!
    If some of your readers of this this blog have pics they are invited to send me their MANHOLE PICS!
    Tanks and greeting to Japon!

    Like

  5. tokyo5 January 11, 2009 at 11:28 pm #

    gerdさん、

    I took a photo of a manhole cover I saw today while we were out…just for you. 😉

    I added it to this post above just now.

    It has a 桜 (Cherry blossom flower)…a symbol of Japan.
    The photo above it has a 梅 (Plum flower).

    If you click on the image (the second one in the post), you can see the full size of the image.

    Is that what you wanted?

    Like

  6. tokyo5 January 11, 2009 at 1:57 am #

    gerd…

    I looked at your Flickr page ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/gerd2007/ ).
    Germany has nice manhole covers too.

    >Do you have the possibility to make a screenshot with the location on the screen, where I can go into a communication the the different authors of the pics?

    I’m sorry to say but that site doesn’t share private info such as email addresses of people who upload photos.

    >if you have manhole pics from Japon, i will be interested in sharing with you

    The photos that I haven taken of Tokyo’s manhole covers were with my cell-phone camera.
    Small size pictures.
    But…next time I see a nice cover I’ll take a picture of it if I have my digital camera on me…and I’ll send it to you.

    Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. But if you have any more questions, I’ll do my best…

    Like

  7. gerd January 11, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    >Do you collect manhole covers or photos of them?
    Are there decorated manhole covers in Germany like there are here (in Japan)?

    Of course pics! it is to heavy to collect real manhole covers! Isnt’it?

    We here in germany have quit different manhole coers like yours! many of them have heraldic sins (coat of arms ) …for me, because i d not travel so much, I am especially interested to find very old manholes; i live in the area of Stuttgart (als near Sindelfingen, where Mercerdes are producing), there are may of them…my latest find was one from 1878!
    See my pics at flickr (www.flickr.com and then gerd2007)

    >Is it hard to follow my site? :O
    All of the Japanese that I write on my blog is followed by a translation in English in parenthesis.

    I will see again…it is a little confusing withth the links etc. on japanese written sites….think that I will see better after some time! I do bookmark your site….

    >Please cann you share your pics also over Flickr or anopther site?
    No, I thought there was one manhole pic of you?

    >Do you mean the photos of the manhole covers at the website I linked to ( this Japanese site: http://ittemia.jp/zensen/themes/view/38 ) ?

    This site is intersting for me, but confusing….vbecause i do not understand the system behind…

    >Sorry. Do you mean you would like me to explain how to navigate that site?

    Yes!

    is there a possibility on the site to write to the people who “send” in the pics, also the authors of the pics…If I click, I get only 8oopixel-pics, not a good resolution. i want to ask the owners of the pics to send my better resolution pics….
    Do you have the possibility to make a screenshot with the location on the screen, where I can go into a communication the the different authors of the pics?

    Sorry for my bad english, hope you understand me…I learned english in school 45 years ago – and with Skakespeare and not to communicate in english through internet!

    >Which pictures (my photos that I took, or photos from that other site)?

    Bth; if you have manhole pics from Japon, i will be interested in sharing with you.Although with others, which you know!

    We share our pics here most through Flickr; there is a very active group “Manhole covers”….

    Hope you understood me quit well.

    Thanks for communication!

    gretings from the “Cold” south of germany!
    Gerd

    Sorry, i first did not understand ho to reply!
    So I copied all here!

    Like

  8. tokyo5 January 10, 2009 at 11:45 pm #

    Gerd Schenk….

    Thanks for visiting my site. I hope you visit often and feel free to comment anytime.

    >“manhole collector”;

    Do you collect manhole covers or photos of them?
    Are there decorated manhole covers in Germany like there are here (in Japan)?

    >Your and other japanese sites are very difficult for me to understand

    Is it hard to follow my site? :O
    All of the Japanese that I write on my blog is followed by a translation in English in parenthesis.

    >Please cann you share your pics also over Flickr or anopther site?

    Do you mean the photos of the manhole covers at the website I linked to ( this Japanese site: http://ittemia.jp/zensen/themes/view/38 ) ?

    That’s not my website nor are those photos on that site mine.

    >Or gie me advice to “see through”…..

    Sorry. Do you mean you would like me to explain how to navigate that site?

    On that site, the pictures have a button that you can vote if you’re impressed by the picture and there’s a number of votes that that picture got so far (each picture all tells info such as where the manhole is in Japan).

    Then there’s a map of Japan with thumbnails of all uploaded pictures, click on one for an enlarged full version. (You can save the picture on your hard-drive too, if you want).

    >I found some pics from you as 800pix resolution.
    Is there a possibility to get these pics in a better resolution for my PRIVATE collection?

    Which pictures (my photos that I took, or photos from that other site)?

    Thanks for a reply, perhaps to my account here at macgerd (at) t-online.de?

    Like

  9. Gerd Schenk January 10, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Hello!
    I found you randomly. I am a german teacher in retirement and a “manhole collector”; i got some japanese manhole pics from one of my collegues…
    Wonderful!
    Your and other japanese sites are very difficult for me to understand because we here in germany cannot read japanese…
    Please cann you share your pics also over Flickr or anopther site?
    Or gie me advice to “see through”…..
    Greetings to you!
    PS.: I found some pics from you as 800pix resolution.
    Is there a possibility to get these pics in a better resolution for my PRIVATE collection?

    Thanks for a reply, perhaps to my account here at macgerd (at) t-online.de?

    Like

  10. tokyo5 January 10, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    Dad…
    Yes, and they look nice. Better than “plain” manhole covers…they contribute to the town’s appearance.

    Like

  11. Dad January 9, 2009 at 8:47 am #

    That’s a nice idea that caught on all over the country it sounds like, it shows that the people have a lot of pride about their town or city.

    Like

  12. tokyo5 January 8, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    bartman905 & Eric In Sendai…

    Do you ever use the 記念スタンプ (Souvenir stamp) at a place you visit or a train station?

    Like

  13. tokyo5 January 7, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    bartman905…

    You’ve never noticed them??
    They’re all over!

    You can learn something about a town you visit in Japan just by the manhole covers. (For example, “Eric In Sendai” said in his town they have rockets on them because of the town’s contribution to Japan’s space program).

    Like

  14. bartman905 January 7, 2009 at 11:47 pm #

    Wow, these are so cool. I hate to admit it as I have been here for 1 year, but never noticed them – must be looking up instead of down (dangerous, I might fall in an open manhole!) .

    I’ll have to start watching out for these fancy manhole covers and snap a few pictures myself. Thanks for the post.

    Like

  15. tokyo5 January 6, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    I found on your blog that you live in California but you love Japan. And that you’ve visited many times.

    What brought you here the first time?
    How long do you stay when you visit?

    Like

  16. Tornadoes28 January 6, 2009 at 1:22 am #

    I love those Japanese manhole covers.

    Like

  17. tokyo5 January 6, 2009 at 12:02 am #

    You should. They have no pictures from Sendai yet.

    Like

  18. Eric January 5, 2009 at 11:52 pm #

    I think I might try. I’ll have to get my wife to help.

    Like

  19. tokyo5 January 5, 2009 at 10:38 pm #

    Eric…

    You should upload that manhole photo to that site I linked in this post!

    Like

  20. Eric January 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    We have some really cool manhole covers here in Kakuda too. They have rockets on them, because the Japanese space program makes rockets here. Check out my old post on my blog. http://insendai.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/kakuda-in-space/

    Like

  21. tokyo5 January 5, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    I just made a new page on this blog (there’s a link at the top).

    It’s called “My Other Pages“.
    (It’s basically a Sitemap).

    It’s here:
    https://tokyo5.wordpress.com/main-page/

    Like

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