Jul 2, 2018
One thing I appreciate about living in Japan is the fact that there's often so much attention to detail here. A way that I often see that expressed is through manhole covers - which come in all manner of cool designs! Back home, manhole covers are simply something for utility rather than something that can have aesthetic appeal, but here I feel like I'm always looking out for unique or interesting designs when I'm visiting a new spot.
A manhole cover I spotted in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture.
Here in my local area, the manhole covers have a couple of key elements - mountains and melons! The mountains are probably self explanatory, since my town is surrounded by them, but the watermelons were something unique that I didn't know about until I moved here. Our region is actually famous for the watermelons they produce, and they are said to have a higher sugar content than watermelons grown in other parts of Japan. I'd say that is probably an accurate statement, since the watermelons we enjoyed here last summer were some of the best and sweetest that we've ever tried. They even hold a watermelon festival here in late July through to early August, where you can indulge in as much watermelon as your stomach can hold. Makes complete sense now that they'd include them on the manhole covers here!
My local manhole cover - albeit upside down! Mountains and melons feature on ours - I'm surprised that koshihikari rice wasn't included, since we have rice fields everywhere!
I think that's a big part of why I like finding fun manhole covers when I travel to other parts of Japan. It's often a glimpse into the history or the culture of an area without having to set a single foot into a museum - they often contain images of local sights or attractions, foods, crafts and more.
Probably one of my all time favorites, from Hakodate in Hokkaido. So cute!
Have you checked out the manhole covers in your local area? Are there any cool or unique images on them? Perhaps you have some favorite designs you've stumbled across from when you've traveled? I'd love to hear about ones you've thought were cool!
After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!