You don’t need to visit an art museum to find beauty in Japan – you just have to look down and pay attention to the many stunning manhole covers on the streets. These urban fixtures usually portray a specific theme or character that’s representative of the locale.
Riding on the ever-growing popularity of Pokémon, Japan’s prefectures have decided to exchange some of their ordinary manhole covers with adorable Pokémon-themed ones, which also double as Pokestops for augmented-reality game Pokémon Go. For now, you can find these special drain covers in Kagoshima, Kagawa, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, as well as Yokohama. The latest addition to this line-up is Japan’s northernmost island Hokkaido – there will be a total of 15 brand new pokefuta (also known as ‘Poké lids’), with the last few to be installed next spring.
While Iwate, whose kanji character ‘iwa’ means ‘rock’, features manhole covers with Rock- and Ground-type Pokémon, Hokkaido, on the other hand, is home to Vulpix and it’s Alolan form whose pure white pelt matches Hokkaido’s snowy winters.
Here’s an overview of all the Pokémon manhole covers in Hokkaido and their respective towns or cities.
From left to right: Ishikari, Eniwa, Toyako, Mori, and Kaminokuni.
From left to right: Shibetsu, Pippu, Teshio, Wakkanai, Toyotomi.
From left to right: Monbestu, Engaru, Ozora, Shintoku, Ashoro.
You may have noticed that two of Hokkaido’s biggest cities Sapporo and Hakodate are not on this list, and that’s because these pokefuta are a strategy to encourage travellers to explore the more rural parts of the island, which are just as fascinating and rich in abundant nature and excellent food.
To pinpoint the exact location of these Hokkaido Poké Lids, check the official website.
All photos: ©2019 Pokémon. ©1995-2019 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.