Japan's Awesome Manhole Covers

Japan is a place where you can collect a plethora of things. However, did you know that there's something that you can collect without hurting your travel budget? 

Japan's Awesome Manhole Covers

This collection is none other than Japan's Awesome Manhole Covers

I know some of you might probably be raising your eyebrows right now and some are probably asking themselves "How on Earth would I bring one home when I only have 50kgs baggage allowance?". 

Team Nicerio in Osaka City

Well, before you continue reading, if you're not into manhole covers you can move on and read other articles in my blog. As for the question - worry not dear reader, you won't be carrying one home. 

To "collect" these colorful and intricately designed covers, one would only need a few things. First, an ever-attentive eye, a camera, and your sharp unerring skill of remembering place names. If you have these, then you can be part of the continuously growing group of amazing hobbyists called "drainspotters". 

Team Nicerio in Kumatori

To be a legit "drainspotter", one has to first know his collection, in this case, its the Japanese マンホールの蓋 which reads manhoru no futa or simply manhole covers. These manhole covers are intricately and sometimes colorfully designed. Each city and town in the country has its own unique design which either showcases well-known landmarks, animals, festivals, mascots, cultural items, or flora and fauna of the place. If you're lucky, you'd find newly installed manhole covers that are painted. This makes the manhole cover designs look more like an art piece than a utility hole cover. 

To motivate you, here is my collection of Japanese manhole covers from my 2014-2015, 20182019, and 2021 adventures. 

My Japanese manhole cover collection



Izumisano City

Kumatori - Jumpson

Osaka City


Kyoto City


Kobe City


Ise City


Nara City

Nara City II


Wakayama City


Gifu City


Takayama City

Okuhida Onsen Village


Tokyo City



Rumoi City

Rumoi City - Kazumo-chan

Asahikawa City




To date, I have seen and photographed 22 unique manhole cover design all around Japan. This simply means that if I manage to collect all designs, I have also visited every corner of the country (which no one has accomplished so far) so good luck with our journey of becoming the first drainspotter to "collect" all of Japan's manhole covers!


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