New street art: One-day event to showcase 110 decorated manhole covers from across Japan

Courtesy of Tokorozawa City / ©SOTSU・SUNRISE
“Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin” manhole covers will be on display at an event in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture.

Manhole covers are everywhere and many people just walk by them on the street without even thinking about them. Increasingly in many parts of the nation, however, artistically designed covers are making pedestrians stop in their tracks for a closer look.

A one-day free event showcasing 110 such covers from all across Japan will be exhibited at the 10th Manhole Summit in Tokorozawa on Nov. 19, just north of Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture.

This “street art” has been attracting attention from around the world. By drawing visitors to the event to see the variety of designs on manhole covers, many of which are often region-specific, the organizers aim to promote understanding of sewage systems.

The theme this year looks to convey the cool aspects of manhole covers, with the largest number ever displayed for the Manhole Summit.

Two specially made manhole covers featuring the anime “Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin,” which were created to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Tokorozawa’s incorporation, will be among the must-see covers on display. The event will also include a discussion on decorated manholes, a stamp collection challenge and free distribution of Gundam manhole cards in English.

The venue, Tokorozawa Sakura Town, is on the site of the city’s former sewage treatment facility.