Most visitors in Japan are awed by the country's art museums and heritage temples. However, a lot of artworks can be found for free, in public, and on the ground. Manhole covers are a quirky and unlikely art form known throughout Japan. Each city has its own special cover, ranging from whales in Akishima to baseball in Hiroshima. For a twist on this ground-level art, the Pokémon Company is designing its own manhole covers in a project called Pokémon Local Acts. Various species of Pokémon will grace the drain covers in lesser-known and disaster-hit destinations, in an effort to encourage city dwellers and tourists to explore these off-the-beaten-track locations.
Both art hunters and Pokémon trainers have to search for these manhole covers outside of Tokyo. The first covers featured Eevee and all its evolved forms in Ibusuki prefecture in southern Kyushu. Rock-type Pokémon, such as the floating Geodude and the stone snake Onix, have been spotted in Iwate because the word iwa means 'rock' in Japanese. These manhole covers also double as Pokestops in the Pokémon Go mobile game, so that's an added motivation to catch them all.
Don't have time to travel that far from Tokyo? Nearby Yokohama in Kanagawa prefecture is the closest city to Tokyo where you'll find a decorated cover. On August 5, Pikachu was honoured with its own cover in front of Yokohama’s Sakuragicho Station, just in time for the annual Pikachu Outbreak. Four temporary covers will also be released around Yokohama and Minato Mirai from August 5 to September 1.
If you're in Hokkaido, Fukushima, Tottori or Kagawa before the end of the year, you might be able to spot some new Pokemon manhole covers. This project plans to expand throughout the whole country so you can eventually spot your favourite Pokémon in every prefecture.