Festival in Tokyo Celebrates the Art of Japanese Manhole Covers

Japan is a country with a unique history and culture, beautiful landscapes, great architecture, bullet trains, neon signs, vending machines and fascinating toilets… they even say that it’s the place where you can find absolutely anything you want. And while your head wonders around this incredible island, make sure you look down because you might find a work of art.

Whether they’re in plain metal or boasting bright colors, japanese manhole covers are so unique that they now have a festival that celebrates them.

Trending high, the Japanese manhole cover festival is on in Tokyo in February. At it, visitors will have a firsthand experience on everything from actual manhole covers to manhole cover goods like collector cards, doormats, miniatures and even cookies and snacks. Related items of all kinds will be on sale, delivering a piece of urban art from every corner of Japan.

But where does this tradition originate from? The story dates back to the 1960s, when a public relations approach wanted to get more people aware of the new post-war sewer systems. The first artistic design appeared in 1977 while the original locally produced designs took off in the 1980s. Each manhole cover features numbers that tell the location and the year it was installed. today, over 95% of the 1,780 municipalities in Japan have manhole cover designs.

Scroll down to see some of our favs and watch the video.




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