Thursday, July 13, 2017

An Ignoramus in Japan: Manhole Covers

There are so many interesting things to see in Japan. Even the manhole covers! There are over 6000 manhole cover designs and I have only seen 0.30% of that number! (Some I missed to take a photo of, but have found photos of them thanks to citizens of the internet world!) Designs usually include the city/town's crest/seal/emblem, official flower/tree, and/or local spots.

Spotted in: Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo

This manhole cover is adorned with two of Tokyo's symbols:
somei-yoshino cherry blossom and ginkgo biloba tree.
Let's learn Kanji:
東京 Tokyo
下水道 (gesuido) sewer
合流 (goryu) confluence

Spotted in: Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

And this here is none other than Hachiko!
Saw this by the Hachiko Memorial Statue outside Shibuya Station.

Spotted in: Ainokura Village, Nanto City, Toyama

On this manhole cover are azalea (flower) and paulownia (tree), the symbols of the former village of Taira, to which Ainokura belonged to. In 2004, four towns and four villages (including Taira Village) merged into what is now called Nanto City. This manhole was constructed before the merging. (Thanks to Gokayama Tourist Information Center for providing information about this design! I couldn't find it on any website.)
Let's learn Kanji:
排 (hai) drain
Photo by そらみみ via Wikimedia Commons

Spotted in: Himeji City, Hyogo

Himeji City's manhole covers are decorated with the white heron and the orchid Pecteilis radiata (also known as White Egret Flower). These two are symbols of the city.
Let's learn Kana (Kanji and Hiragana):
消火栓 (shokasen) fire hydrant 
ひめじ Himeji

Let's learn Hiragana:
ひめじ Himeji
おすい (osui) sewage

Spotted in: Miyajima/Itsukushima, Hiroshima

On the center of this manhole cover in Miyajima is the island's seal/emblem.
Let's learn Kanji:
汚水 (osui) sewage
Photo by そらみみ via Wikimedia Commons

And why the maple leaves on this drain cover? Because the maple is Hiroshima prefecture's tree.
Let's learn Kanji:
広島県 (Hiroshima-ken) Hiroshima Prefecture + 木 (ki) tree

Spotted in: Chuo Ward, Osaka City, Osaka

On this manhole cover are Osaka City's seal/emblem, the city's tree (cherry tree), and Osaka Castle.
Let's learn Kanji:
中央区 (Chuo-ku) Chuo Ward

And this one shows some of the city's tourist attractions: Tombori river cruise, Dotonbori Canal, Osaka Castle, and...I don't know what the two buildings are. If you know, please leave a comment.
Let's learn Kanji:
大阪市 (Osaka-shi) Osaka City
空気弁 (kuki-ben) air valve
水道局 (suidokyoku) Waterworks Bureau

Spotted in: Toyonaka City, Osaka

Toyonaka City's manhole cover has roses (the city's flower) and a crocodile. Because crocs live in the city's sewers! Just kidding! The crocodile is Osaka University's official mascot Machikane-wani or Dr. Waninamed after the huge crocodile fossil discovered in 1964 in Osaka University's Toyonaka campus.
Let's learn Hiragana:
とよなか Toyonaka

Spotted in: Koya Town, Wakayama

On the center of this manhole cover is Koya Town's emblem.
Let's learn Kanji:
汚水 (osui) sewage
Photo from Japan Visitor

Spotted in: Nara City, Nara

Nara is known for its more than 1,000 free-roaming deer in Nara Park, thus the deer on the manhole cover. The design also includes the city's flower, yaezakura (a variety of cherry blossom), and the city's emblem in the center.
Let's learn Kanji:
汚水 (osui) sewage

Spotted in: Ikaruga town, Nara

On Ikaruga Town's manhole cover are the Japanese black pine (the town's tree), camellia sasanqua (the town's flower), and Hokkiji (a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Ikaruga Town).
Let's learn Hiragana:
いかるが Ikaruga
げすい (gesui) sewage

Colored version from Muza-chan's Gate to Japan

Spotted in: Kyoto City, Kyoto

I saw three different manhole cover designs in Kyoto City. All three have a simple patterned design with Kyoto City's crest on the center.

Spotted in: Uji City, Kyoto

In Uji City, I spotted two manhole covers that, like Kyoto City's covers, are designed with a pattern surrounding the city's emblem.

An interesting find was a colorful drain with Japanese globeflowers, Uji City's flower.
Let's learn Kana (Kanji and Hiragana):
市の花 (ichi no hana) City flower
やまぶき (yamabuki) Japanese globeflower

Another interesting find in Uji City was a manhole cover with maple (the city's tree) leaves, and Ujibashi (bridge), one of the most ancient bridges in Japan.
Let's learn Kanji:
宇治市 (Uji-shi) Uji City
汚水 (osui) sewage

Let's learn Kanji:
消火栓 (shokasen) fire hydrant

Spotted in: Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi

And here's one from my friend, Bunny, who visited Fujikawaguchiko recently. Thanks, Bunny! On this manhole cover are oenothera (the town's flower) and, on the center, the town's symbol.

Let's learn Hiragana:
おすい (osui) sewage

Have you seen any interesting manhole covers in Japan? Do send me a photo and its location and I will add it in this blogpost. Thank you, fellow drainspotter!

Know Before You Go
Single Entry Tourist Visa for Japan
Roam Around Japan with a Swagger
An Ignoramus in Japan: Vending Machines
An Ignoramus in Japan: Bathrooms and Toilets
An Ignoramus in Japan: Manhole Covers (you're here!)
I Spy With My Little Eye: Japan's Fashion Contradictions
I Spy With My Little Eye: On the Go in Japan

From Tokyo to Hiroshima (2015)
10D/9N | Tokyo, Toyama, Kyoto, Hyogo, Osaka, Hiroshima
Tokyo Accommodation: Shinjuku Airbnb
Tokyo: Memorable Tokyo Eats
Tokyo: Odaiba
Tokyo: Doing Touristy Things in Tokyo
Toyama: A Hamlet Called Ainokura
Kyoto Accommodation: K's House Hostel Kyoto
Kyoto, Japanecdote: Wisdom from the Road: On exits #2
Kyoto: By the Thousands (Kyoto Imperial Palace, Sanjusangendo, Fushimi Inari Taisha, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove)
Kyoto, Japanecdote: Turning Japanese
Kyoto: Braving the Crowds at these UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto (Kiyomizu-dera, Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji)
Hyogo, Japanecdote: If Only I Could Speak Nihongo
Hyogo: Day Trip to Himeji: Himeji Castle and Shoshazan Engyoji Temple
Hyogo, Japanecdote: Am I an Alien?
Hiroshima: Strolling and Snacking in Miyajima
Hiroshima: Remembering the Past in Hiroshima
Osaka, Japanecdote: How to Lose Friends
Osaka Accommodation: Osaka Airbnb
Osaka, Japanecdote: Where is Bentencho Station?
Osaka: Osaka Adlaw, Osaka Ako sa Osaka
Osaka, Japanecdote: Learn From Your Mistakes

Kansai Diaries (2016)
9D/9N | Nov 2016 | Wakayama, Nara, Kyoto, Osaka
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kansai Region
Osaka: Day 0: Arrival
Osaka Accommodations: Hotel Raizan, Hotel Mikado
Wakayama: Day 1: Going to, Sleeping in, and Eating in Koyasan
Wakayama: Day 1.5: West Side of Koya Town
Wakayama: Koyasan Sidewalk Shorts
Wakayama: Days 1.75~2: Okunoin, Three Times
Nara: Sleep, Eat, and Explore Nara City
Nara: Day 3: Horyuji, Hokkiji, and Some Japanecdotes in Ikaruga Town
Nara: Day 3.5: Yakushiji, Toshodaiji, and Heijo Palace Site in Nara City
Nara: Day 4: Early Morning at Nara Park
Nara: Day 4.25: Naramachi Walking Tour
Nara: Day 4.5: Todaiji, Yoshiki-en, and Kofukuji in Nara Park
Kyoto Accommodations: Guesthouse Wind Villa, Shiori Yado
Kyoto: Day 5: Rainy Day in Uji City
Kyoto: Day 5.5: Tofukuji, Kawai Jinja, Shimogamo Jinja
Kyoto: Day 6: Ginkakuji, Ryoanji, Ninnaji
Kyoto: Day 6.75: Gion Night Walking Tour
Kyoto: Day 7: All Day in Arashiyama
Kyoto: Day 8: Last Day in Kyoto
Osaka: Day 8.75: Dizzying Dotonbori
Osaka: Day 9: Osaka, Over and Out

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