Japan has a knack for turning even the most mundane objects into something exciting. The country’s manhole covers are a case in point: the usually dull and overlooked drain covers are adorned with unique art and designs. Mitaka has one featuring a character by Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki while Saitama has recently installed next-generation anime and manga manhole covers which light up in the dark.
However, Pokémon manhole art seems to be all the rage at the moment. Colourful covers featuring the global franchise’s most beloved monsters have started appearing in small towns across Japan since last year, and most recently at Tokyo’s Serigaya Park in Machida.
The latest area to receive a set of Pokémon manhole covers is Nara prefecture. Its five new covers feature a mix of first and second generation Pokémon species. A collaboration between the Pokémon Company and local tourism organisations, the Pokémon manhole covers, also known as Pokéfuta, are part of an ongoing project aimed at boosting tourism in lesser known destinations.
The manhole covers can all be found in the town of Ikaruga, located in the northwestern region of Nara prefecture. They celebrate popular Pokémon characters including Entei, Deerling, Fletchinder, Growlithe, Bellsprout, Magby, Chimecho, Simisear and Bronzong.
Some of these creatures are chosen specifically to match the locale. Deerling, for example, is an obvious choice since Nara Park is closely associated with its local population of bowing, free-roaming deer.
Currently, three of the five manhole designs are already in place, with the remaining two set to be installed later this month. To locate these Pokemon manhole covers, use this handy map while you make your way around Nara.
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