Drainspotting in Japan.

Japan is a land of indescribable beauty, fascinating culture, and just plain weird. One such quirk that’s emerged as a bit of a pop cult is drainspotting.

Umm, what?

Drainspotting. A hobby that involves looking out for fancy manhole covers across the Land of the Rising Sun. No seriously. There’s a society and everything (they have a website, but it’s all in Japanese). The Japanese Society of Manhole Covers prides itself on listing over 6,000 different designs you can look out for when out and about. Amazing.


An Eisa dancer design in Koza, Okinawa. 

I’m weirdly intrigued, do tell me more. 

Designs vary depending on region and utility company responsible. For example, expect to see a lot of castle designs in Osaka, Eisa dancers in Okinawa, and koala bears in Nagoya (I have proof, but I don’t know why koalas). Whilst there are an awful lot of really beautiful manhole covers, there are also utilitarian ones too. NTT (a telecommunications company), have fairly plain covers. You’ll also find a lot of covers for things like fire extinguishers, emergencies, and sewarage, are pretty nondescript. That being said, some fire extinguisher covers have cool designs (such as cute mascots or depictions of fire trucks).


Cute Koalas in Nagoya. 

Further reading. 

If you want to read more, there’s an actual fucking book.


Another design spotted in Osaka. 

Happy and safe travels,


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