In many countries, maintenance hole covers are plain steel circular objects meant to cover underground areas. The name of the objects range from manhole covers, maintenance hole covers, or in Japan, they’re known as utility hole covers. Many pass by them without a second thought, or hope that they don’t fall through them.
Japan has taken a different approach by decorating these circular covers with various popular characters. The designs depend on the region, but have ranged from anime idol characters from Love Live! to Pokémon.
The Kanto region, specially Kanagawa, features Pikachu designs. The Kyushu and Okinawa regions have various designs of Eevee and its evolutions.
— grape Japan (@grapejapan) August 7, 2020
The Chugoku and Shikoku region has several utility hole cover designs. Their designs include Slowpoke, Sandshrew, and more. But Hokkaido and Tohoku has several designs already for Hokkaido, Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima. The designs include Vulpix, Rockruff, and Lapras. Chancey was added as a Fukushima design in 2019.
Pokémon fans can enjoy the artwork on the utility hole covers, but of course, they can’t take it home. The artwork is also available in a form that any fan can enjoy. The Poké Lids designs are available on other items, such as stickers, cups, enamel pins, and stationery.
The website has further described the project:
Poké Lids, artistic covers for utility holes, have recently started to be spotted in some cities. Who knows if they are of Pokémonopolistic nature? It seems that not all utility holes are man-made; rumor has it that Diglett may be responsible for digging large enough holes to be mistaken for utility holes and some artists took it upon themselves to “mark” the covers to differentiate them from ordinary ones. Where will the next “mark” be?
While the Poké Lids project doesn’t have a functional purpose, they are something fun to few whiles out on the streets of Japan.
The Poké Lids project continues to expand in Japan. For more information on what regions the designs are available in and where to find them, the Poké Lids website is available in Japanese and English.