It doesn’t take a lot of work to find Pokemon related stuff in Japan. You may even be greeted as soon as you land with a Pokemon themed vending machine and catch some Pokemon sweets in the airport's convenience store.
That being said, when in the country that birthed the worldwide phenomenon, fans of the series are going to want to go out of their way to get the full Pokemon experience.
Here are the must-visit places and must-do activities for seasoned Pokemon trainers.
1. Pokemon Center
Probably number one destination on any Pokemon fan’s list, the Pokemon Center is a consumerist paradise of wall to ceiling merchandise that leaves many a customer genuinely fearing for the state of their bank account. From clothes to stationary, to plushies and tableware, you can get pretty much any item imaginable with Pikachu and the gang plastered all over it.
There’s a few Pokemon Centers in and around Tokyo, so check out our guide to see which is the one for you.
2. Pokemon Cafe
Speaking of the Pokemon Center, next door to the Pokemon Center Tokyo DX in Nihonbashi is the world’s only permanent Pokemon Cafe (although one is set to open in Osaka later this year). The exclusive menu portrays many of our favorite creatures in food form, such as Eevee burgers and Jigglypuff cheesecakes. There’s seasonal treats to be had too, and you may even get a visit from a very special guest.
For an insider's peek at the cafe, take a look at this article about our visit to the Pocket Monster eatery.
3. Pikachu Outbreak Festival
Every summer in Yokohama, a port city just a train ride away from Tokyo, a yellow epidemic takes over. This is Pikachu Outbreak. The area around Minato Mirai station plays host to parades, performances and various wild Pikachu appearances. The event only happens once a year and goes on for about a week so you’ll have to be lucky to catch it, but it is truly a Pokemon event like no other.
4. Find Rare Collectables and Memorabilia
The shiny new merch in the Pokemon Center is all well and good, but what about some true nostalgia to make your Poke-trip special? The otaku havens of Tokyo are treasure troves of rare figures and cards and you never know what you might find. Akihabara is the most famous area for geeking out, but serious collectors may want to try out the lesser known Nakano Broadway.
5. Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go's initial boom may have died down, but in Tokyo you can still spot groups of people on street corners, furiously pawing at their touchscreens in complete silence. So if you see such a congregation, it might be worth checking the game to see what they’re all so excited about. Some Pokemon can only be caught in certain geographic locations so take your chance and make sure you get them while you’re in Japan!
6. Pokemon Pop-ups and Collaborations
Various Pokemon food and goods are always popping up in Tokyo, often to celebrate a new game or movie release. Recently we’ve been treated to Detective Pikachu roll ice cream and stylish Pokemon shirts. But these Pokemon treasures are usually only around for a limited time and can show up anywhere, so keep checking grape Japan to stay in the know when it comes to the newest Pokemon collaborations.
Read more stories from grape Japan.
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