all photos by @sakanakudo

In hilly and mountainous Japan, retaining walls are a common sight. As the name implies, they’re designed to retain soil to a slope and keep it from spilling into streets and other areas that us humans use on a daily basis. And where there are retaining walls you’ll also likely find drainage systems: piping that’s essential to keeping water from building up behind the wall and creating unwanted pressure.

The sight of these walls and drainage are so common that most people would walk right past them without thinking twice. But for one Japanese amateur photographer who goes by the name sakanakudo, the drainage pipes and their constant moisture represented rich, miniature ecosystems. Here are some of sakanakudo’s recent shots of the miniature gardens he’s found growing inside the pipes.

The next time we walk past a retaining well, we’re definitely going to stop and poor into the drainage!