Tokyo – The Art of Manhole Covers

Posted by jerry on February 2nd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Travel

After observing some really unusual drain covers in Tokyo – part of the quirky side – I found that some people have built up quite a collection of such photos. And some are truly exquisite works of design.

The ‘damn cool pics’ blog has some fine examples – the flower designs are amazing.

Tokyo manhole cover
I photographed this one in the Ginza district – apparently a sewage cover.
And here’s another fine collection – from all over the world. But they include Japanese ones, and not just from Tokyo either!

Manhole Covers of Tokyo provides a useful typology of the covers, including information on what they are covering – whether utilities or sewage or fire hydrants.

Tokyo manhole cover
This one I found near the wharf in Tsukiji district not far from Takeshiba station. Probably another sewer cover.
So I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees beauty in industrial design – and who looks down, as well as up, in cities!

Cheers
Jerry

5 Comments »

Comment by Linn Skinner

And I thought I was the only one who looked at these thingies! I have a couple of rubbings of different designs from manhole covers. People do tend to think you are a little crazy though when they see you on your knees with a big piece of paper and a rubbing crayon. Do you suppose we need a manhole cover spotting society?

Posted on February 4, 2007 at 12:01 am

Comment by jerry

These would make great rubbings! People did look at me a bit strange when I pointed the camera down at my feet while in the middle of the wealthy Ginza district, but I figured each person’s experience of the place is unique anyhow.

Judging by the websites devoted solely to pics of manhole covers worldwide I suspect there is already a nascent manhole cover spotting society 🙂

Rubbings are a fabulous idea – like the rubbings of bronzes in European cathedrals and museums. Do you have photos of the rubbings?

Cheers
Jerry

Posted on February 4, 2007 at 8:50 am

Comment by Linn Skinner

Unfortunately the rubbings are, along with a “gazillion” other things, in a box in the garage or the shed after a move across country. They will surface one of these days and I’ll shoot some pics. They are just very linear though, nothing like the wonderful, colorful Japanese covers.

Posted on February 4, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Comment by jerry

Thanks Linn
Yes we have boxes like that too 🙂
Well, if they ever emerge I’d love to see the pics 🙂

Cheers
Jerry

Posted on February 4, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Comment by magan

Those who travel “slowly” in Japan cannot resist taking photos of these sewer-covers. I too was taking phogtos of these. There are on all sidewalks and every city and special areas have their own design. We traveled independently and extensively through Japan for month and half and I wish I would have noticed earlier and started taking photos right on first day. I have some in my collection of more than 3.000 photos from Japan. Fascinating country and fascinating people.

Posted on December 10, 2009 at 6:55 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment