This is How Colorful Manhole Covers in Japan are Made

In most countries, manhole covers are dark metal plates that just serve their purpose and are not particularly attention-worthy. But in Japan, they take a different approach with this element of street infrastructure.

In the 1980s, some Japanese officials figured out that they could use manhole covers to give the streets of their cities a more colorful vibe. They started covering them with hand-painted artworks, and the residents loved the idea so much that now almost every city has them.

It is believed that more than 6,000 different manhole cover designs exist across Japan. Some depict Japan’s natural beauties or traditional symbols, while others take inspiration from anime and other pop culture properties like Hello Kitty.

The process of crafting and painting these colorful manhole covers is pretty fascinating. YouTuber Process X recently decided to visit one factory that makes the covers and gives its viewers a look behind the scenes of the entire process.

His video, which proved really popular on social media, shows the factory taking scrap steel that is then melted and poured into sand molds. The solidified covers are then cleaned and given surface treatment. Finally, a group of workers paints each cover by hand, making sure that everything corresponds to the template.

You can check out the whole manufacturing process in Process X’s amusing video below.