It’s An Art!!
The Artistic Manhole Covers in Osaka’s Streets.
Manholes can be found everywhere in every city and has an important task of providing easy access to underground structures that require regular inspections and occasional repairs. But did you know that these manholes could also be a piece of art? The design of manhole covers has evolved in Japan in recent decades and have become rich and vivid, celebrating the locality and depicting a story about local history and culture.
Regional Manhole Covers Rich in Design
Once upon a time, no one thought twice about the design of manhole covers; it was merely an indicator for the inspectors that blended in with the road.
Today, beautifully designed manhole covers are street art that enhances the environment. They have quietly become a boom.
There are over 12,000 variety of manhole covers in Japan. “Manholers,” who enjoy taking pictures of these manhole designs, have also appeared.
Particularly, regional manholes are getting attention as they emphasize locality by depicting the characteristics of a particular region and perhaps even a local mascot. They are gaining popularity as a theme for travel, because you simply cannot take a picture of these manhole covers without visiting the region.
Surely, you can find manhole covers with special designs overseas, but Japanese manhole covers are getting the attention of international visitors for their sheer number as well as the diversity of designs.
And, each of these manholes is hand-painted—where else can you find such skills and dedication but in the land of takumi (master craftsman) Japan!!
The colorful manhole covers are indeed an art here.
Find Them in Osaka.
A new design for EXPO 2025 Osaka has just been introduced!
Nearest station: Osaka Metro Misoduji Line’s Hommachi Station
Osaka Castle Manhole
The manhole cover with the design of Osaka Castle probably is a good representative of this phenomena in Osaka. The magnificently painted castle is surrounded by cherry blossoms, Osaka City’s official tree, and waves that represent the aquapolis (city of water).
A rare version of the Osaka Castle manhole, with a dark blue sky and brown waves, is located at the north end of Shinsaibashi-suji shopping street. Can you find it?
EXPO ’90 Commemorative Manhole Cover
Manhole covers with the design of Expo ‘90 mascots were created to commemorate the International Garden and Greenery Exposition in Osaka.
Nearest Station: Osaka Metro Midosuji & Tanimachi Lines’ Tennoji Station
EXPO 2025 Commemorative Manhole Cover
In December last year, a new manhole cover design has been introduced in anticipation of the upcoming Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai.
Just like the Expo ’90 commemortive manhole covers, the mascot for Expo 2025 is depicted in the center in the new design. Colors red and blue create a nice vivid contrast, giving life to Myaku-Myaku, the blobby creature that looks as if it’s going to jump out of the cover any moment.
So far, you can find the new design in 10 locations scattered around Osaka City. By the opening of Expo 2025, however, some 400 manhole covers with this design are expected to appear around the City of Osaka, celebrating the exciting event that puts Osaka/Kansai on the international stage♪
A Manhole Cover with Osakan Dialect?!
You can find a manhole cover filled with Osakan vibes—one that has Osakan dialects written on it—in Namba! How many Osakan dialects do you recognize?
Nearest station: Osaka Metro Midosuji Line’s Namba Station
Collect Regional “Manhole Cards”!!
“Manhole Cards” depict the manhole cover designs that can be found throughout Japan. The 18th edition has been released most recently and a cumulative total of 915 variety of designs from 649 local municipalities have been published. Of course, our beloved Osaka is part of these collectible cards! You can get Osaka manhole cards from Osaka City Sewerage Science Museum and River Control Division at City Hall or at the Osaka ATC Green Eco Plaza. For the Osaka prefectural manhole cards, go a little further out of the city to the Konoike Mizu Mirai Center or Skyland HARADA where you can also see an exhibit of local manhole designs.
You do need to visit in person to obtain these cards free of charge, but it’s restricted to one card per person.
Cities around Osaka also distribute their own cards—an excellent reason to travel around Osaka prefecture!
Osaka City Manhole Cards
Osaka City Sewerage Science Museum
- [Address] 1-2-53 Takami, Konohana-ku, Osaka
- [Distribution] 9:30 am to 5:00 pm (Admission until 4:30 pm)(Excluding Wednesdays (or the following day if Wednesday is a holiday) and New Year Holidays)
- [Access] Approx. 15-minute walk from Osaka Metro Sennichimae Line’s Nodahanshin Station
Osaka ATC Green Eco Plaza
- [Address] ATC ITM Building 11F West, 2-1-10, Nankokita, Suminoe-ku, Osaka
- [Distribution] Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays (closed on Mondays)10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- [Access] Approx. 3-minute walk from Trade Center-mae Station (Exit 2).
Osaka’s Best Rose Gardens!
Early summer brings fresh green leaves and colorful flowers to the city. The …
Spring Blossoms at Osaka Castle Park
Namaste! I'm Manju from Nepal.I've been living in Osaka for 3 years. Despite the common …
Osaka Art Walk in Nakanoshima
Last February, Osaka welcomed the long-awaited Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka to its vibrant …