Drainspotting: Unbelievable Painted Manhole Covers from Japan


How did I not know about this?!

Apparently, there’s a movement in Japan that paints manhole covers (gender inclusive term is peopleholes? sewerholes?) with bold hues and imagery, providing crazy bursts of brightness and color along city streets.

Blogger Remo Camerota has been cataloging the movement at Drainspotting, and his work has just been turned into a book and iPad app.


“The covers are part of a 20 year beautification program between the cities and various foundries to make manhole covers that reflect the particular culture of the city in which it’s located. In an interview with Nagashima Foundry president Hirotaka Nagashima, he explains, “we here at Nagashima suggested designs for manhole covers that represented something about the city. The cities and towns tell us of particular elements that they require, which can be from a myth, building, panoramic view or character of the locality.”

“Drainspotting” neatly maps notable covers with a map orienting them within Japan. Through this approach, Camerota builds a window into the society, both unique and fantastic.”