Japan being Japan, is never lacking when it comes to offbeat and kawaii (cute) stuff. Their latest offering? Pokémon manhole covers!
Of course we shouldn’t expect anything less from a country that has their own Japan Society of Manhole Covers. Yes, it’s a thing. The website, entirely in Japanese, features submissions on nothing else but the variety of manhole covers available here.
Manhole covers in Japan are unique according to their locality, functionality and manufacturer. The pretty designs not only provide a great setting for your #travellingfeet photos, but also serve as a memorable reminder of your visit. In fact, some tourists even go trekking (or shall we call it drainspotting) for all these intricate manhole covers.
You might encounter one engraved with Godzilla in Tokyo, or spot a colourful one of Mount Fuji if you’re in the vicinity. The latest viral sensation, however, is the Poké Lids. These special edition manhole covers feature various Pokémon Monters!
The best and easiest place for Pokémon-lovin’ travellers to go drainspotting is Yokohama, located just one hour away by train from the capital city Tokyo. They’ve just recently launched a Pikachu Poké Lid near Sakuragicho Station, one of Japan’s oldest train stations, which started operations in 1872.
To match this Poké Lid are four temporary Pikachu manhole covers with the letters YO, KO, HA, and MA to honour the city.
It’s not a coincidence that Yokohama was chosen to feature this most popular Pokémon Monster of all time. The city is home to the annual Pikachu Outbreak, a festival which takes place every summer in August. The event features 2,000-strong ‘Pikachu Army’ parading the streets around the Minato Mirai area, as well as various performances and activities throughout the week-long celebrations.
The 2019 edition even has the Pikachus decked in LED lights dancing the night away! So if you’re a die-hard Pokemon fan, this is a good reason to book your Japan trip!
Poké Lids made their debut late last year in Ibusuki, a city on Kyushu island famed for its beaches, active volcanoes, and natural hot springs. The first Pokémon Monster to be conferred is the highly mutable Eevee and its assorted evolutions Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Umbreon, Glaceon, Leafeon, Espeon, Sylveon. So if you visit Ibusuki in the future, keep an eye out for these nine versions of Eevees on the ground.
Meanwhile, up north, another popular Pokémon Monster Geodude was chosen to represent the prefecture of Iwate, which translates to ‘rock palm’. It only makes sense that a Pokemon with a boulder as a body and muscular arms to match is chosen to be Iwate’s Ambassadorial Pokémon.
What are those even? You see, the gaming franchise and worldwide phenomenon Pokémon has this initiative called the Pokémon Local Acts, which aims to promote Japan’s various localities by enlisting these Ambassadorial Pokémons, which are chosen for their characteristics that match the respective localities.
You can check where the Pokémon manholes are located via the official website here, perhaps even planning your Japan trip soon? Whether or not you love Pokémon, one thing that’s hard to deny – they’re hella cute!
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