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Images of the Day
Urban Beautification, Japanese Style: These Manhole Covers Pave The Streets With Awesome
February 13, 2013
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japanhole-covers-1.jpg
Photo: Travis King/Flickr

When you're walking in a city and you look down at the sidewalk, what do you expect to see?

Maybe some old chewing gum, a few cigarette butts, and lots of concrete. Oh yeah, and every once in a while, a manhole cover.

But in most cities around the world, those covers are as nondescript as what surrounds them. They're just a functional part of the city's infrastructure.

japanhole-covers-2.jpg
Photo: Ted of DGAR/Flickr

Well back in the '80s, Japan decided to start treating manhole covers a little differently, Salon reports. According to a book about the phenomenon, 'Drainspotting', "nearly 95 percent of the 1,780 municipalities in Japan sport their very own specially designed manhole covers."

They're designed to reflect some aspect of the region, with designs that "range from images that evoke a region's cultural identity, flora or fauna to landmarks and local festivals."

japanhole-covers-3.jpg
Photo: Ted of DGAR/Flickr

japanhole-covers-4.jpg
Photo: jpellgan/Flickr

These days, there are thousands of decorated manhole covers across the country. Check out the ones on this page, and visit this Flickr group to see more.

japanhole-covers-5.jpg
Photo: jpellgan/Flickr

japanhole-covers-6.jpg
Photo: steeljam/Flickr

japanhole-covers-7.jpg
Photo: Strikeael/Flickr

japanhole-covers-8.jpg
Photo: abadore/Flickr

japanhole-covers-9.jpg
Photo: jpellgan/Flickr

japanhole-covers-10.jpg
Photo: Ted of DGAR/Flickr

Via Salon

Related:

We Bombed A Zoo: Italian Street Artists Take Over An Abandoned Zoo, Make It Awesome

AWESOME THING OF THE DAY: JR's Pervasive Street Art

Beautifying Cities, Protecting Birds: Artist Turns Recycled Materials Into Colourful Birdhouses

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