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Manhole Covers

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Manhole Covers in Japan

There has been a fad in recent years in Japan involving manhole covers. And if you see the various designs that can be found all over the country, it is easy to see why this fad has taken so much traction and how it continues to hold more and more people's interests.

In this blog by Japanese teacher Yuki Kamiyama, you can read about how this new fad is being used by local governments to promote their areas and also competitions to advertise their venues and matches.

These weekly blogs by Japanese teachers at JOI are a really good tool to learn Japanese online for free. They feature an English translation, a Kanji learning guide and also a video which gives you a chance to listen to the Japanese in the blog being spoken fluently.

Manhole Covers









カードの表面にマンホールのふたの写真と設置位置を示すデータ、裏面にデザインの由来と地域の情報が書かれています。ふたのデザインは有名なマンガのキャラクター、プロ野球チームのキャラクター、その土地の名所や名産品などいろいろあります。 これまでに454自治体から539種類のカードが発行されています。カードは無料ですが、手に入れるためにはその自治体の配布場所に行かなければなりません。わざわざ出かけてカードを集める、カードをもらったら実際にあるマンホールを探しながら町を歩いてみるという楽しみ方があり、最近とても人気があります。


To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video. 




そのひとつがマンホールふたです。マンホールのふたにラグビーワールドカップのロゴマークや自治体(じちたい)のマスコットキャラクターをデザインして設置(せっち)しています。会場(かいじょう)に向(む)かう歩道(ほどう) から大会(たいかい)と自治体(じちたい)をPR(ピーアール)しています


カードの表面(おもてめん)にマンホールのふたの写真(しゃしん)と設置位置 (せっちいち)を示(しめ)すデータ、裏面(うらめん)にデザインの由来(ゆらい)と地域(ちいき)の情報(じょうほう)が書(か)かれています。ふたのデザインは有名(ゆうめい)なマンガのキャラクター、プロ野球(やきゅう)チームのキャラクター、その土地(とち)の名所(めいしょ)や名産品(めいさんひん)などいろいろあります。 これまでに454自治体(じちたい)から539種類(しゅるい)のカードが発行(はっこう)されています。カードは無料(むりょう)ですが、手に入れる (てにいれる)ためにはその自治体(じちたい)の配布場所(はいふばしょ)に行(い)かなければなりません。わざわざ出(で)かけてカードを集(あつ)める、カードをもらったら実際(じっさい)にあるマンホールを探(さが)しながら町(まち)を歩(ある)いてみるという楽(たの)しみ方(かた)があり、最近(さいきん)とても人気(にんき)があります。

みなさんも日本(にほん)を旅行(りょこう)するときマンホールカードを集 (あつ)めれば、その地域(ちいき)の新(あた)しい魅力(みりょく)を発見 (はっけん)できるかもしれませんよ。

Manhole Covers

On September 20th 2019 the Rugby World Cup will begin in Japan. It is the first time that the Rugby World Cup is held in Asia. The games will be held in stadiums 12 prefectures spanning from Hokkaido in the north to Oita Prefecture in the south.

Baseball and soccer are popular sports in Japan, but we are not very familiar with rugby. For this reason, the local governments are making an effort to enliven the competition in various ways. One of these ways is using manhole covers. There are manhole covers using the Rugby World Cup logo and local government character mascots in their designs being installed. The roads leading to the venues are being promoted by competition organizers and the local governments.

Actually there manhole cards which are collector's cards that feature the manhole covers. These were started in 2016 by a group known as the Sewer System Advertising Platform which aims to get people to be interested and understand more about the sewage system. The front of the cards show pictures of the manhole covers and data on their locations and installation. The back of the cards explain the origins of the design and gives some local area information. There are many types of manhole cover designs including famous manga characters, pro baseball team mascots, famous local landmarks, as well as noted local specialties. Currently 454 local governments have issued 539 types of cards. The cards are free but you have to go to the local government distribution sites in order to obtain them. There is a way to enjoy this by going out with the express purpose of collecting the cards, then once you get the cards, walking around the city or town to find the manhole covers themselves which has become popular recently.

When you travel in Japan, if you collect these manhole cards, you might be able to discover some new attraction points in each area.

なじみがある familiar

自治体(じちたい) local government


マンホール manhole

ふた cover

ロゴマーク logo

マスコットキャラクター mascot

由来(ゆらい)the source


わざわざ with the express purpose


Hajimemashite, my name is Yuki Kamiyama. I live in Tokyo with my family (husband and two children).

My hobbies are reading books and watching movies. It doesn't matter what genre, I really enjoy and get stimulated by coming into contact with worlds that I do not yet know.

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