In August 2020, Kotaku reported that there were 100 Pokémon manhole covers in Japan. It seemed like a lot at the time. But last year the number has doubled.
The Pokémon slots are synchronized Poké-Futa (ポ ケ ふ た) in Japanese or literally “Poké lid”. The first was equipped with Eevee and was installed in Kagoshima in December 2018.
There are now 201 Poké-Futa in 19 prefectures across Japan. Below is a picture of all previous Pocket Monster slots:
In Japan it seems as if every town and town has its own chute for innovations. One of the most enjoyable aspects of walking around Japan is trying out the different designs.
Manholes weren’t always that interesting in Japan. Accordingly Web Japan, the first “designer manhole” appe ared in 1977 in Naha, Okinawa and featured abstract fish patterns. The aim was to improve the city’s sewer image. Other places across Japan followed suit, and in 1981 colorful manhole covers made their mark on Japanese streets. Now there are a number of manholes with popular characters
In Japan, manhole covers are hand-colored, with artisans spraying colorful resin from ketchup bottles. Nippon.com reports that it takes skilled workers about an hour to evenly apply paint to a single lid, which is then heated to cure the resin.
But 100 in a year, that’s a lot! The Poké-Futa double as Pokéstops and are also used to promote tourism to local areas, including places that have been hit by natural disasters and may need additional assistance.
The latest are here Awaji Island in the vicinity of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (Picture above), with Lugia among the featured monsters. Not only is it home to a great beach as well a wonderful sake brewery, Awaji Island holds an important place in the country’s Shinto history and is definitely worth a visit! Plus, it’s really spectacular to drive over the bridge at sunset.
If you’re visiting Japan, if you’re allowed to visit Japan again, wondering where to see the most Poké-Futa, Miyagi has the most with 35 lids, followed by Miyazaki and Hokkaido which both have 26. Tokyo has 12 so there is ample opportunity to drain space there too!
For more about Poké-Futa, check out the official site.