if you walk or cycle along Showa Street in Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City, near Ichi Ban Cho you will find a series of old and new fire hydrant and fire cistern manhole covers with an interesting geometric design!
This particular ones is surrounded in yellow to allow fire trucks to easily spot them!
It is actually the cover over an important access to a fire cistern!
We know the design is brand new as it features the new Shizuoka Ciy emblem in its middle!
Going back you will find this still fairly modern design on a fire hydrant cover!
As they erased the central design it is probably a type used in the whole prefecture!
Further down the road you will find an old design!
It is partly painted in yellow for easy spotting at night.
This a type used in the whole prefecture and probably beyond!
Chibi Maruko is the heroine of the Chibi Maruko Chan manga series known all over Japan and far beyond overseas.
It was created by Momoko Sakura, born miki Miura(8 May 1965 – 15 August 2018), a resident of Shimizu Ku (formerly Shimizu City) in Shizuoka City. By sheer coincidence the laying of thetwo new and unique manhol covers had been delayed and were installed just after the sudden death of artist.
The first was laid on Sptember 6th in Shimizu Ku just in front of the west exit of Shimizu JR Station.
Chibi Maruko wears a pink holiday outfit on this one.
The background features Mount Fuji which you can see from Shimizu JR Station by clear weather.
Also in the background are tuna and the sea as Shimizu is a major fishing harbor with the largest tuna haul in Japan!
The other one was laid on September 7th at the entrance of the waking alley behind Cenova Deppartment Store in Aoi Ku!
It represents Chibi Maruko in her primary school uniform and headwear!
The background shows Mount Fuji and the Abe River!
And the tea fields, for which Shizuoka is so famous!
Yaizu City is the most famous Bonito/Katsuo fishing harbor city in Japan!
Japan is increasingly becoming known all over the world for its gastronomy and more recently for its unequaled manhole covers. Shizuoka prefecture is no exception when it comes to either, or even better, to a combination of the two!
Shizuoka Prefecture has a lot to offer when it comes to gastronomy and is certainly above all when it comes to variety, be it vegetables, fruit or meat when it comes to land and a bounty of seafood when it comes to sea!
Yaizu City has no less than three different manhole covers depicting Katsuo/Bonito for the simple reason it is the most important fishing harbor in Japan as far as bonito is concerned!
Hirame/Soles or Flounders in Hamamatsu City!
But when it comes to seafood, Yaizu City is only a portion of it all!
Come to Hamamatsu City for example. They managed to make a pun out of their own manhole covers! In Sakana, an area in downtown Hamamatsu City they have no less than four covers representing fish because “sakana” written with a different kanji/Japanese character means “fish”!
“Tara” or Cod!
Another “Hirame”/sole or Flounder!
Shall we continue with seafood?
Hatsushima Island is one of the few islands administered by Shizuoka Prefecture. It can be easily reached by ferry boat from Atami City.
It is celebrated for its “Iseebi”/Spiny lobster and “Sazae”/Turbo shell!
Izu Inatori fishing harbor in south west Izu Peninsula is celebrated all over Japan for its “Kinmedai”/Splendid Alfonsino!
At the very tip of Izu Peninsula Minami Izu is also proud of its “Iseebi”?Spiny lobsters!
Heda, in North eastern Izu Peninsula, now part of Numazu City, is known for “Takahashigani”/Japanese Giant Crab, the largest crab in the World!
And to conclude with seafoods one must visit Yui, Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka City, known all over japan for its “Sakuarebi”/Cherry Shrimps. Actually there two more tiny covers depicting this little gastronomic treasure!
It is about time to switch to land products, and one cannot overlook green tea! Introduced to Shizuoka Prefecture more than 800 years ago, we are still the biggest producer in Japan. Interestingly enough, covers depicting tea are to be found only (that is, for the present!) in Kikugawa City with two different types, one of them representing the “Cha Musume”/Tea leaves handpicking girl/lady!
Shizuoka Prefecture is also renown for its strawberries and one can find them on covers in Nirayama, Izu City, also famous for World Heritage Hansharo and its beautiful views of Mount Fuji!
Hamamatsu City is not only famous for its fish, eels in particular, or oysters, but also for its oranges to be found in Mikkabi!
And we can conclude (that is, for the moment, as there must be others to come in the future, what with the booming tourism!) with a lesser known piece of gastronomy: back to the beginning of the 17th Century when Shogun Tokugawa Ieayasu retired to Sumpu (present Shizuoka City) he discovered “nasu”/egg plants exclusively grown in the Orito area (prensently Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka City) and grew so fond of them that he awarded them the appellation of “Orito Nasu”/Orito eggplants. These are still grown there and are a rare vegetable searched by all sorts of renown chefs!
Can you see it at the bottom right of the manhole cover?
A couple of years ago the Shizuoka City Fire Department adopted a new logo you can now see on all their vehicles, ambulances included.
The “birds” are kingfishers, the emblem birds of Shizuoka City!
The first kingfisher is a fire fighter, the second one a rescue team member and the third one a mdeic with the ambulance services!
A new manhole cover was created at the same time bearing the fire fighter kingfisher ut it was never used as it was found too slippery in wet conditions!
Finally in July this year the new design appeared in the streets of Shizuoka City!
Note that this particular manhole cover is used only over fire hydrants and the yellow circle has been painted around it to make it easier to find at night!
Shuzenji used to be a town of its own before a lot of towns and cities were merged at the end of the last Century and at the beginning f the present one.
It makes things confusing in some places and Shuzenji is a case in point. It is now part of the new City called Izu (not to be confused with Izu no Kuni City!)!
Accordingly two types of logos on manhole covers will be found in the streets and pavements, taht of Shuzenji and that of Izu City!
The above plaque has the logo of Shuzenji!
This small water valve cover also bears the Shuzenji logo!
Now, this is the large modern manhole covers with the new logo of Izu City and irises found all over the new City regardless of its ancient history!
This water valve bears the new Izu City logo!
On the other hand this older valve is a hot spring natural hot water access valve!
The other day I had the opportunity to visit Hamamatsu City for the first time in a long time and discovered and re-discovered manhole covers!
The one above is a new one for access to sewers with the mascot of Hamamatsu City, “Ieyasu Kun”, That is Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu that the City of Hamamatsu more or less stole (like they do with other things…) from Shizuoka City.
They added a piano to his apron because Hamamatsu City is the biggest piano producer in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Unfortunately there quite a few mistakes in the English translation (boohhh… for an international city!):
HAMAMATSU CITY SHUSSEMANHOLE should have been written “HAMAMATSU CITY SHUSSEI MANHOLE”…
In the end (to make sure that they don’t copy Shizuoka City?) a new cover was created to give Ieyasu Kun a female companion called “Nattora Chan”1 And they also made a point that they too have a castle….
More interestingly, when I visited the old district of “Sakana Cho” I discovered, or more aptly said re-discovered old covers bearing fish (which is also pronounced “sakana” in Japanese!).
The one above represents two flat fish/soles/halibuts.
The two fish on that other one are cods, but I’m not too sure!
On this one, not a manhole cover, but a sewer plaque, the fish is definitely what the British call a “plaice”!
Footnote: Many cities, towns and villages having been recently merged into Hamamatsu City but I keep such reports according to separate areas of this area-wise vast city!
Ito City is a bit isolated at the eastern extremity of Shizuoka Prefecture just south of Atami City.
More “outsiders” than tourists from Shizuoka Prefecture tend to crowd its narrow streets.
It is a quaint city full of hidden sights and one of them lies at your feet, namely manhole covers!
The first you will feet is that of a colorful rendition of a “matoi”/firefighters festival pole, which reminds you of the importance of keeping a vigilant eye all year round as fires were and still are the scourge of Japanese cities!
Cito City has two distinct “official” manhole cover designs, one showing the rugged shore, its light house and a suspended bridge over the sea!
The other one is a rendition of the famous tub race festival being held every summer down the local river!
Some local citizens went as far as painting some for better a better exposure!
Note the official Ito City design on plainer covers!
And if you look carefully, you will find plenty more covering all the valves needed for a city famous for its hot springs!