Manhole covers don’t have to be ugly sewer lids. In Japan, they can be astoundingly intricate, colorful, museum-worthy feats of urban design.

Photographer S. Morita (Flickr name MRSY) has snapped over a thousand manhole covers around Japan over the years. In a country renowned for its attention to detail and rich artistic heritage, it’s pretty inspiring to take a bland city staple, that people literally walk all over, and morph it into eye candy.


Head over to Morita’s Flickr page for hundreds of more photos of these pavement-topping beauties. has photos on their own site, too, and there’s even photographer Remo Camerota’s coffee table book.

Sometimes the coolest stuff is just under our noses...and our feet.

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All images courtesy S. Morita, and used with permission.