Besides observing Japanese culture from the perspective of a glass of ice water
,you can also experience while walking on the streets. No matter where we travel, we only concentrate on the view in front of our eyes, but if you travelling Japan, try to look down when you are walking, you will find some surprises – the hidden designed drain cover (デザインぶた).
Underground drainage system is very important for a developing city, while in Japan, the drain covers are not only used for covering the drains, it is also used as a piece of decoration. In the past, there is no special designs on the drain covers, until Showa 30s (about 1954), Osaka, Kobe and other city started to manufacture designer drain covers. In Showa 60s (1985), in order to improve the image of drainage construction, and fulfill the public request, the ministry began to encourage city and town government to have uniquely designed drain cover. Hence it creates a unique characteristic to the town.。
Until today, the drain covers are stamped with the local specialty. To discover unique and different drain cover in each city has become a must-do activity for me. There are large numbers of drain cover, it is impossible to collect all of them. However, there are some Japanese publisher which published books about drain covers in Japan, you can get a hold of all the designs in just one book. Many netizen also shared their collection online, you can check them out in the following websites.
Japanese Drainage Cover Society日本マンホール蓋学会：http://sky.geocities.jp/usagigasi1f/
Photos of nationwide drainage cover 全国マンホール写真集：http://www.hotetu.net/manhole/manhole.html
If you are travelling in Japan, remember to pay attention to the special designed drain covers, here are some of my collections:
Osaka Izumi Sano
Uji City, super beautiful~ (Uji City Policy, fishing in Uji City)
One of the three scenic spots in Japan – Amanohashidate
Miyama-cho, another option for Gassho Village visiting (You can now enjoy Gassho house in Miyama, Kyoto)
If pictures don’t satisfy you, bring them home with you! Don’t be surprised, of course I don’t mean the real drainage covers, these are the key chains available in the local souvenir shops!