In some areas of Japan, all you have to do to get a feel of local traditions and specialties is look down at the street you’re standing on. Some manhole covers are surprisingly artistic, with beautiful designs incorporating things the area is famous for.

But some less traditional manhole covers have been appearing in recent years, including ones inspired by anime like Love Live!.

The installation of manhole covers featuring characters from a hit series can be a great way to bring more visitors to obscure areas of Japan, and one of the biggest hit series, Pokemon, are utilizing this strategy to help revitalise Japanese cities, especially ones which have been struck by disasters in recent years.

Pokemon have been collaborating with local municipalities around Japan to create ‘Poke Lids’, manhole covers with awesome Pokemon designs. Hoping to encourage more tourism to the areas, the covers are one of a kind, so if you want to see your favourite Pokemon, you have to go to that particular location.

If you check out the website, you can see which covers have already been installed. So far there’s Poke Lids in Kagoshima prefecture and Iwate prefecture. There’s already plans to expand the project to Hokkaido, Fukushima, Tottori and Kagawa later in 2019.

The Pokemon featured sometimes have a link to the area. For example, Geodude (a rock with hands) can be found in Iwate, a prefecture name which includes the characters for ‘rock’ and ‘hand’.

Ibusuki city in Kagoshima is graced with Poke Lids that celebrate Eevee and its evolutions because ‘Ibusuki’ sounds similar to 'I like Eevee' in Japanese (iibui suki).

The Poke Lids will also be turning up in Yokohama in the next few days, just in time for 2019’s Pikachu Outbreak festival. Naturally, the designs will celebrate everyone’s favourite electric mouse. The Pikachu couple will be installed in front of Sakuragicho station for a long time, but there will be other Poke Lids which will only be around until 1st September. You can find these four mystery Pikachu poses to complete the word ‘YOKOHAMA’.

Each iron manhole lid will be crafted in a factory in Saga prefecture and hand-coloured.

The Poke Lids will also become a Pokestop in the Pokemon Go mobile game, which should hopefully attract even more Pokemon fans to the location.

Take a look at the official Poke Lids website every so often to see if the special manhole covers are coming to your favourite Japanese town!

By - Jess.