In Japan, manhole covers are something special. Each area has its own design and some even have colored versions. Since 2018 also Pokemon joined the manhole trend and you can find manhole covers with Pokémon design in many prefectures of the country. In this article I want to tell you how to find the PokéFuta in Kyoto!
The Hype about manhole covers in Japan
In the 1980s, the communities in Japan began with their unique manhole cover designs, originally started to create awareness and acceptance of the modernizations of the central sewage system. Nowadays, nearly all the manhole covers have their own design, often representing special symbols of the area, such as city flowers, city trees or famous buildings and sceneries. There are even manhole cards which you can collect!
Pokémon manhole covers in Kyoto
In 2018 Pokémon joined the manhole cover mania, and there are more and more PokéFuta (ポケふた), as they are called in Japanese, appearing around Japan. The PokéLids (that’s the English term) are meant to bring tourists to that areas, so you can find a lot at not-so-popular locations or places that are more difficult to reach. For example, there are 35 Pokémon manholes with Lapras in Miyagi prefecture, an area hit strongly by the tsunami in 2011.
I could talk a lot about PokéFuta here, but this article is supposed be about the Kyoto ones. So, if you want to know more about them, check out my article about Pokémon manholes in Japan on Voyapon.
The Pokémon manhole covers got installed in Kyoto on March 30th, 2021 and I got to visit them one year later in March 2022. The five PokéFuta show Pokémon from the second generation, referring that these appeared in the game’s Johto region which was modeled on the real Kansai area.
So, let’s go on the hunt!
1. Maruyama Park
Maruyama Park (円山公園) is one of the most popular places when it comes to cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto. The public park is located in the Higashiyama district right next to Yasaka Shrine. When you enter the park coming from the shrine, you can find it easily on the right side, on the way between the Gourd Pond (Hyotan Ike) and some food stalls.
The Pokéfuta in Maruyama Park shows Pichu, Cleffa and Igglybuff having fun together under the cherry blossom trees in the park.
2. Okazaki Park
The next PokéFuta we can find inside Okazaki Park (岡崎公園). If you never heard of this place, you might better get an idea, if I tell you that this is the park located right in front of the Heian Shrine (平安神宮). This shrine dates back over a hundred years to 1895 and has to offer impressive architecture. Behind the main building, a garden with weeping cherry trees is located.
The Pokémon manhole comes with the fire-type Pokémon Cyndaquil and Darmanitan that seem to be happy to cross a traditional Japanese bridge. From the manhole location at the corner of the park, you can see the entrance to the shrine.
3. Umekoji Park
Our third spot is Umekoji Park (梅小路公園), a park located close to Kyoto Station. However, if you want to see the Pokémon manhole first, you can easily move on one station by JR train to Umekoji-Kyotonishi Station. Especially during spring, Umekoji Park is filled with pretty plum blossoms. But there is also the Kyoto Railway Museum to enjoy.
The manhole cover is located close to the station before you enter the green area of the park. The water-type Pokémon Totodile and Azumarill are enjoying the small streams in the park, which are refreshing in summer.
4. Nishikyogoku Athletic Park
The Nishikyogoku Athletic Park (西京極総合運動公園) isn’t a place the usual Kyoto tourists would visit. During our visit, we could see some people jogging and running around, so it seems to be a common sports location for the locals. There are three sports stadiums in the park where events are held.
The manhole cover here shows Chikorita and Shiftry, both being grass-type Pokémon from the 2nd generation. Also here, cherry blossoms are included, such as normal green leaves. It is easiest to get there via Nishikyogoku Station, or take one of the Kyoto City buses.
5. Arashiyama Park
As the name says, we are moving on to Arashiyama. Famous for the bamboo grove, this is one of the popular areas for tourists. The Arashiyama Park (嵐山公園) is located close to the Arashiyama Station of the Hankyu-Arashiyama Line. So if you arrive at the JR Station Saga-Arashiyama or with the Randen train, you have to cross the Togetsu-kyo Bridge to get to the park. From there, you can easily find the PokéFuta, walking along the way close to all the cafés and shops.
From the manhole you also have a nice view of the Togetsu-kyo Bridge, which is often quite crowded with tourists. It shows the legendary Pokemon Ho-Oh together with some of Kyoto’s landmarks in the background. A perfect design for one of Kyoto’s most popular sightseeing spots.
A map to round up!
To help you a bit more to find all the PokéFuta in Kyoto, I added all the locations on a map. I also added the location of the Pokémon Center, if you want to buy some merchandise during your visit. The Pokémon manhole covers in Kyoto are located in public places, so you can visit them at every time of the day.
I hope this article is helpful for your Pokémon manhole hunt in Kyoto.
Feel free to share it with your friends and let’s go and gotta catch ’em all!