In the UK, manhole covers aren’t exactly much to look at most of the time. They’re usually just slightly rusted slabs of metal with a bit of chewing gum and a fag butt or two stuck on top for good measure.
In Japan, manhole covers are typically a heckuva lot more swish. Bright, unique, beautifully designed pieces of art that pay tribute the culture and history of the local areas they adorn. There isn’t a fag butt or scrap of chewing gum in sight.
As part of a new project that makes me wish I was in a position to go and explore Japan more than ever before, a number of towns and cities across the country now boast Pokemon-themed manhole covers.
Earlier in the year the city of Ibusuki proudly released a number of adorable Eevee-themed manholes. While there was nothing wrong with the old, non Pokemon-themed manholes, the new Eevee editions are absolutely gorgeous, and packed with life and colour.
Check ’em out in all their glory below:
Brilliantly, the city apparently opted for Eevee manholes specifically, because Ibusuki sounds similar to “Eevee suki”, or “Eevee likes.”I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to collect manholes until now, but that’s the power of Pokemon.
Elsewhere in Japan, wild manholes are appearing that have some kind of thematic connection to the town or city they inhabit. As Kotaku notes, rock-type Pokemon such as Geodude have manholes in Iwate Prefecture, because “iwa”refers to rocks. Geodude is also the official tourism ambassador for the area for that same reason, so the dude is a well known face in Iwate Prefecture.
Time Out Tokyo reports that this wonderful project is called Pokemon Local Acts, which has been devised to encourage an increase in local tourism. As it turns out, manhole-spotting is a fairly popular hobby for people travelling across the country, so the addition of a selection of some choice Pokemon will surely help make things even more exciting for travellers.
I’ll leave you with a selection of tweets from travellers documenting their Pokemon-themed trips across Japan below.
ＨＡグランモール公園付近 ＭＡパシフィコ横浜付近#横浜市 #西区 #ポケモンマンホール #ポケふた #ピカチュウ大量発生チュウ！ pic.twitter.com/jTYINhbHUb
— 横浜市西区役所 (@nishi_yokohama) August 6, 2019
— junko (@yukitan1816) August 11, 2019
横浜みなとみらいに、 #ピカチュウ のマンホールが
— 【公式】ポケモン情報局 (@poke_times) August 5, 2019
— かえる (@kaeru9) August 14, 2019
Since I won’t be visiting Japan any time soon (lack of funds, not choice), I’m going to have to sketch a crudely drawn Charizard on the manhole cover outside my house in an attempt to bring the country to me. Sob.
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