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!
Fire hydrant manhole covers at Shizuoka City Waterworks center!
Tourists and expat residents alike are always surprised to discover artistically designed manhole covers of all kinds as the walk urban streets and even villages lanes, a rare sight away from Japan where they would probably be quickly stolen in spite of their weight in any other country!
Replacing a fire hydrant manhole cover in Shizuoka city!
Sewer networks had long existed in Japan until foreign engineers introduced modern underground sewer systems with above ground access points called manholes in the 19th Century. Such manholes had to be covered for obvious reasons, hence the name of”!manhole covers”!
Their geometric designs were not that remarkable until a momentous event took place in the 1980’s when the Japanese Government slated to have not only cities but all communities to be equipped with new sewer systems to enlarge streets and pavements and facilitate movement and access as they also implied the disappearance of above ground fire hydrants.
Fire hydrant valve manhole cover devices in Shizuoka City!
This was met with heated resistance until a more intelligent bureaucrat had the idea of personalizing such manhole covers with designs to promote the cities in charge of their maintenance.
Whereas private manhole covers belonging to electrical supply company in particular had always been there, sewer, water and fire hydrant manhole covers suddenly dotted the pavements and streets of Japan with splendid urban art, the more astonishing for it that it was officially organized by municipalities who devised such designs themselves!
The first soon appeared in Nagoya City to be followed in the whole country.
The manhole cover that was never to become public in Shizuoka City!
The municipalities sent their designs to foundries who cast such designs into wrought iron, either in neutral color or with bright colors filling the designs thanks to highly resistant compounds.
The results are often striking, although errors are still made as proven by the recent mishap encountered with a beautiful design of Shizuoka City’s bird emblem, a kingfisher, for a new fire hydrant manhole cover having to be scrapped when officials realized it would become dangerously slippery under the rain!
The Legend of the daughter of the bamboo Cutter on a manhole cover in Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture, arguably the most popular design in Japan!
Let me introduce you to a very limited palette (more than 1,700 communities have one or many different manhole covers in Japan!) to help you select your own favorite kind of manhole covers!
A rare design showing the old Shizuoka Ciy Hall dome on a road maintenance manhole cover!
Local and more famous cultural assets under the guise of buildings, bridges, art works, museumsa nd the like will describe the sight not be missed in the places you are visiting!
Kobe City landmarks!
Football (soccer) in Saitama Prefecture!
Sports is a very common theme!
More soccer in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!
For baseball lovers in Yokohama City!
Ecopa Stadium where the World Cup Soccer games were held and where some of the next Rugby World Cup games will be held!
Mount Fuji and Miho Matsubara Beach in Shimizu City (now merged into Shizuoka City)!
As for Mount Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture has almost too many of them!
A rare (only one!) Mount Fuji manhole cover in Yoshiwara, Fuji City, to commemorate a sacred thermal source!
This design found in Fujieda City, Shizuoka prefecture, is actually a pun, as “fuji”, albeit written differently, means “wisteria”, hence both Mount Fuji and the wisteria appearing together!
Lovers of geometrical designs will have plenty to look around such as the one above in Yui, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!
There will be plenty for nature lovers such as this magnificent dragonfly, the emblem of Iwata City in shizuoka Prefecture!
There are absolutely too many to count for flower lovers such as the above “tachi aoi/hollyhock” in Shizuoka City!
Commemorations will be found everywhere such as this one installed in 2015 in Shizuoka City to commemorate the death of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the Kunozan Toshogu Shrine and the World Cultural Heritage of Mount Fuji and Mho Matsubara Beach!
Gastronomy does occupy a special place such as the above katsuo/bonito in Yaizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture!
An even better rendition of the same theme in the same city!
Fire hydrants manhole covers will provide you with plenty of fun as the above in Iwata Ciy, Shizuoka Prefecture!
Fire hydrant manhole cover with “Matoi/firemen Festival Pole” in Kambara, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!
I’ll conclude with Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu who retired to Sumpu, presently Shizuoka City in 1607!
Utagawa Hiroshige/歌川 広重 (1797 – 12 October 1858) (real name: 安藤 広重/Ando Hiroshige) is probably the most famous ukiyoe/woodblock print artist when it comes to describing travel scenes in Japan.
When it comes to Shizuoka Prefecture where a Museum is dedicated to him in Yui, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City, the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō immediately come to mind.
And if you look carefully you will find them represented in the most unusual places!
Now, take the Tokaido Railway Line and get off at Shin Kambara Station in Shizuoka City, Shimizu Ku!
The place is famous for its cherry trees.
Did you know that the cherry trees offered to the US in Washington are all the scions from a single tree from nearby Okitsu, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!
Travelers of yore added onto one of Utagawa Hiroshige’s prints!
Now go the pavement along the station and you will discover the world of Edo at your feet!
Find this set of tiles and proceed to its left to discover them all in their right order!
Leaving Edo : Nihonbashi, “the bridge of Japan”!
We are still in present Tokyo!
1st station : Shinagawa!
Now, we enter Kanagawa Prefecture:
2nd station : Kawasaki!
3rd station : Kanagawa (presently in Kanagawa Ku, Yokohama City)!
4th station : Hodogaya (presently in Hodogaya Ku, Yokohama City)!
5th station : Totsuka!
6th station : Fujisawa!
7th station : Hiratsuka!
8th station : Oiso (presently in Naka District, Kanagawa Prefecture)!
9th station : Odawara (Crossing the Sakawa River at a ford.)!
10th station : Hakone!
The last station inside Kanagawa Prefecture!
We enter Shizuoka Prefecture from now on:
11th station : Mishima!
12th station : Numazu!
13th station : Hara (presently in Numazu City)!
14th station : Yoshiwara (presently in Fuji City)!
15th station : Kambara, the main tile (Shin Kambara is part of Kambara, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City)!
16th station : Yui (presently part of Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City)!
17th station : Okitsu (presently part of Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City)!
18th station : Ejiri (presently part of Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City)!
19th station : Fuchū (old name of Shizuoka City)!
20th station : Mariko (presently in Suruga Ku, Shizuoka City)!
21st station : Okabe (presently in Fujieda City)!
22nd station : Fujieda!
23rd station : Shimada!
24th station : Kanaya (presently in Shimada City)!
25th station : Nissaka (presently in Kakegawa City)!
26th station : Kakegawa!
27th station : Fukuroi!
28th station : Mitsuke (presently in Iwata City)!
29th station : Hamamatsu!
30th station : Maisaka!
31st station : Arai!
32nd station : Shirasuka (presently in Kosai City)!
This is the last station inside Shizuoka Prefecture!
Now we enter Aichi Prefecture:
33rd station : Futagawa (presently in Toyohashi City)!
34th station : Yoshida (presently in Toyohashi City)
35th station : Goyu (presently in Toyokawa City)!
36th station : Akasaka (presently in Toyokawa City)!
37th station : Fujikawa (presently in Okazaki City)!
38th station : Okazaki!
39th station : Chiryu!
40th station : Narumi (presently in Midori Ku, Nagoya City)!
41st station : Miya (presently in Atsuta Ku, Nagoya City)!
This is the last station inside Aichi Prefecture!
Now we enter Mie Prefecture:
42nd station : Kuwana
43rd station : Yokkaichi
44th station : Ishiyakushi (presently in Suzuka City)!
45th station : Shōno (presently in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture)!
46th station : Kameyama!
47th station : Seki (“the barrier”), (presently in Kameyama City)!
48th station : Sakashita (presently in Kameyama City)!
This is the last station inside Mie Prefecture!
Now we enter Shiga Prefecture:
49th station : Tsuchiyama (presently in Kota City)!
50th station : Minakuchi (presently in Kota City)!
51st station : Ishibe (presently inside Konan City)!
52nd station : Kusatsu!
53rd station : Otsu!
This is the last station inside Shiga Prefecture!
The end of the Tōkaidō: arriving at Kyoto (actually at the time Sanjō Ōhashi (the bridge spanning over Kamo River) at Keishi (“the capital”)!
Nishigaya Sports Center is located far away, about 30 minutes by bicycle from Shizuoka Station on the other side of the Abe River. That is probably why I never realised they might have, and an ancient one at that, their own particular manhole covers!
They are all, 21 of them, located in the middle of a street running along the sports center (none were found near the baseball stadium, though). There are two types,most often in pairs, although of the exactly same design.
They were probably installed in 1990 when the Sports Center was completed, making them very old by Shizuoka standards!
The “denki/電気/underground electric cables manhole cover”!
The “Tachi Aoi/たち葵/Hollyhock”, emblem flower of Shizuoka City!
A “Tsubame/燕/Swallow”, one of the two Shizuoka emblem birds (the other one is the kingfisher)!
The “Osui/汚水/spent waters” type!
I have a strong hunch they will soon be replaced so keep an eye on them!