In some areas of Japan, all you have to do to get a feel of local traditions and specialties is simply look down at the very ground you’re standing on. Some manhole covers are surprisingly artistic, with beautiful designs incorporating the area’s famous attractions. But some less traditional manhole covers have been appearing in recent years, including ones inspired by anime like Love Live!.

A particularly famous and beloved series, Pokemon has been collaborating with local municipalities around Japan to create ‘Poke Lids’, manhole covers with awesome Pokemon illustrations. Hoping to encourage more tourism to the areas, the covers are completely original, one of a kind designs, so if you want to see your favourite Pocket Monster, you have to go to that particular location.

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 meaning ‘rock’ and ‘hand’, which is pretty neat. In the same way, Sandshrew has been chosen for Tottori prefecture, an area famous for the largest sand dunes in Japan.

Both Sandshrew and his icy counterpart, Alolan Sandshrew are ambassadors for the prefecture, and the two are featured heavily in the new ‘Poke Lid’ designs, frolicking with a few other favourite creatures from the series.

The manhole covers are spread widely across the whole of Tottori, so if your mission is to catch ‘em all, as it were, you’ll have to get your exploring boots on. By design, this is supposed to encourage travelling around the prefecture, but not at the expense of the health of Pokemon Trainers. The organisers stress that visitors should take care due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, and perhaps wait until it’s safe to go Poke-hunting again.

The installation date differs depending on each cover, but information regarding the dates and locations for each one can be found on the Poke Lids website, which can help you find every single Pokemon manhole cover to be found scattered all across Japan. Most are permanent but some are temporary so be sure not to miss out on your favourite Pokemon!

By - Jess.