Kurashiki Manhole Cover - Photo by PINEAPPLE Studio

Japan is an amazing country which in my eyes is a fascinating combination of futuristic urbanism and technology alongside traditional arts, ancient architecture and nature. My husband and I traveled there for 3 weeks exploring different areas. This was truly an inspiring experience which left a long lasting impact on us.

I like when attention is put into the little details, and you can find many examples for that in Japanese arts, culture and sculptured nature. Even something seemingly insignificant as the sewage covers (manhole covers) turns into mini works of street art, with detailed engravings depicting architecture & nature scenes.

As you take a closer look you will notice, that these are not just random images. Each one tells a story about the history or main characteristics of the city or town it is in:

Matsumoto Manhole Cover - Photo by PINEAPPLE Studio
Matsumoto is the main area of production of Temari (Hand Balls) and it is one of its most important folk crafts. Temari are handmade silk balls, which were used in the past for games. Today they serve mostly as decorative objects and good luck charms.
Osaka Manhole Cover - Photo by PINEAPPLE Studio
A colorful depiction of the Osaka Castle.
Kobe Manhole Cover - Photo by PINEAPPLE Studio
Kobe manhole covers depicts the city with mountains in the background. The anchor symbol represents Kobe’s beautiful harbor.
Hiroshima Manhole Cover - Photo by PINEAPPLE Studio
Thousands of colorful paper cranes are decorating the Children’s Peace Monument located in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, in memory of the girl Sadako Sasaki and the thousands of child victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Nara Manhole Cover - Photo by PINEAPPLE Studio
You can find many Sika deer roaming free in the Nara Park area, which are considered to be a sacred animal in the local tradition.
Kurashiki Manhole Cover - Photo by PINEAPPLE Studio
Inside the Achi Shrine in Kurashiki is a centuries old Wisteria tree, which is considered the largest of its kind in Japan.

Thousands of these artistic manhole covers can be found in Japan. I recently came across this beautiful Flicker album by member MRSY. Looking at these photos makes me want to visit Japan again and look for each and every one of these street works of art.

There is so much to see in Japan! If you ever travel to Japan I recommend using this website called Japan Guide to plan your trip. It is full of resources, travel routes and information, and was extremely useful when we were planning our trip.

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