In December last year, beloved Pocket Monster Eevee began appearing on manhole covers in Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture, in an effort to help promote the city that sounds similar to “Eevee” in Japanese, thanks to its three first letters.
Since then, Eevee and its Eeveelutions have been spawning on manhole covers around Ibusuki, attracting tourists from around the country. The overwhelmingly positive response from the public means that other pocket monsters are now being prepped for their own debuts, starting with some of the rock/ground Pokémon, which can now be found in Iwate Prefecture.
— 大船渡市観光物産協会 (@OofunatoKBK) July 31, 2019
Bug/Rock Pokémon Shuckle has been spotted at Otsuchi, one of the towns in Iwate that was hit hard by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
— 三陸防災復興プロジェクト2019 (@sanriku_project) July 31, 2019
The name Iwate combines the words for stone (岩, “iwa”), and hands (手, “te”), which is the reason why it’s been chosen as the home of the rock/ground Pokémon, with Geodude proudly raising his fists as tourism ambassador for the prefecture.
— まいまい⊂(･ิϖ･ิ)⊃ (@kapupura) July 30, 2019
Other pocket monsters waiting to be discovered in Iwate include Onix, Shieldon, Kabuto, Tyrunt, Aron, and Omanyte.
— いわての旅@岩手県観光協会 (@iwatetabi_info) July 27, 2019
— 三陸防災復興プロジェクト2019 (@sanriku_project) July 24, 2019
While these gorgeous designs are enough to get any Pokémon fan booking a trip to Japan right now, the biggest reveal is yet to come, with the announcement that Pikachu manhole covers will soon be appearing in Yokohama City, in Tokyo’s neighbouring Kanagawa Prefecture.
As the home of the annual Pikachu outbreak, the city of Yokohama is the perfect location for these gorgeous new Poké lids. The two-Pikachu design can be found outside Sakuragicho Station from 5 August, while the remaining four designs – each adorned with two letters from the name “Yokohama” – will be located around the Minato Mirai area for a limited time, from 5 August until 1 September.
Plans are currently underway to expand the reach of the Pokémon manhole covers to other areas around Japan, with Hokkaido, Fukushima, Tottori, and Kagawa Prefectures set to be graced with new designs in the near future. The initiative, being dubbed “Pokémon Local Acts“, aims to encourage travellers to venture out to some of the country’s more rural destinations, particularly those that have been hard hit by disasters in recent years.
The Pokémon Company, which is responsible for the project, says each manhole design is unique, with only one in existence in the world.
To find out more about the project, including the exact location of the manhole covers, check out the official website here.