Can you guess which Pokémon shares its special day with the 4th of July?

It’s none other than Miyazaki Prefecture’s very own mascot Pokémon, Exeggutor!

And to celebrate Exeggutor Day, Miyazaki Prefecture unveiled a total of 9 additional Pokémon manhole covers across their prefecture on July 4th 2021.

North American readers in particular, who famously celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, may wonder why Miyazaki Prefecture chose this of all days to celebrate their prefectural Pokémon mascot. The answer is a goroawase 語呂合わせ, meaning wordplay in Japanese. Exeggutor’s Japanese name is Nashi, and the two consecutive characters “Na” and “Shi” also mean 7 and 4, respectively, so Miyazaki Prefecture chose the 4th day of the seventh month, July, as a fitting day to pay tribute to their Pokémon mascot.

The upshot of all this is that now there are even more reasons to celebrate on the 4th of July and Pokémon fans around the world commemorate Independence, Exeggutor, or both at once.

9 New Pokélids installed across Miayazaki Prefecture

Miyazaki Prefecture began installing Pokélids in 2020 after they teamed up with the Pokémon Company in a bid to boost tourism by designating Exeggutor as the prefecture’s Poké-mascot. The prefecture has since installed 17 Pokémon manhole covers in different municipalities. With the addition of the 9 new ones on July 4th, 2021, all 26 municipalities in Miyazaki now have their own Pokélid.

The new manhole covers feature Exeggutor alongside fan favorites including legendary Pokémon Regirock, Regiice, Registeel, and Regigigas, in addition to Slackoth, Smoochum, and other cute Pokés.

The gorgeous designs aim to introduce the charm of Pokémon to local residents and tourists. Pokélids ordinarily have a strong thematic connection to places they are installed, and in the case of Miyazaki, Exeggutor features prominently to represent the prefecture’s tropical climate and abundance of palm trees. It is hoped that fans of the Pokémon franchise will visit Miyazaki from all over on a pilgrimage to find their favorite Pokémon manhole covers.

The Pokélid Project

The ingenious tourist attractions are part of the Pokémon Company’s efforts to revitalize tourism in rural areas of Japanese prefectures. Since 2018, when The Pokémon Company partnered with Kagoshima Prefecture to install an Evee Pokélid, over 180 Pokémon manhole covers have been installed in prefectures across Japan. Each lid also doubles as a Pokéstop in the hugely popular mobile game, Pokémon Go, adding extra incentives for fans to visit local areas of Japan.

A map that shows the lids and their locations across Japan can be viewed here on the Pokélid website.

So, in addition to gorgeous scenery, tropical climate, and stunning tourist attractions, there are now 26 extra reasons to pack your bags and head to Miyazaki prefecture. It may even be a perfect way to celebrate your 4th of July next year!

By - Toby M.