One of the unique things about traveling to Japan is seeing the colorful and decorative manhole covers. You heard that right – manhole covers, the circular plates covering holes in the ground.
Each city has a unique cover design, such as a landmark or what the city is famous for.
Yet, the most impressive ones are the Pokémon-themed manhole covers (also called Pokémon Utility Hole Covers) called Poké Lids.
Since 1996, Pokémon is a popular franchise with an animation series, video games, online games, trading cards, and much more.
With Pokémon’s recognizable brand, cities partner with Pokémon and designed over 240 Poké Lids across the country. All Poké Lids have 1-2 Pokémon characters. Every year, the number of lids increases. So, that is a lot of utility covers to “Catch ‘Em All.”
In this post, we’ll share tips on how to find the Pokémon Poké Lids covers in Japan.
We’ve found a few Poké Lids on our recent trips to Japan. It’s a fun and easy outdoor adventure to add to your Japan itinerary. The experience is similar to going on a treasure hunt and seeking Poké Lid treasures.
If this sounds like your type of activity, continue reading.
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History of the Pokémon Poké Lids
Pokémon Poké Lids was started in 2018 by the Pokémon Local Act.
The purpose is to encourage locals and foreign tourists to visit popular and less visited areas of Japan. Many lids are in the off-the-beaten-path areas, so it’s an opportunity to explore new areas and neighborhoods.
Each Poké Lid has 1-2 Pokémon characters. Currently, there are over 1000 characters!
The manhole cover design is based on the nearby landmark.
For example, the Pikachu Poké Lid in Yokohama (Kanagawa area) has two Pikachus with the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel and the Minato Mirai skyline.
It’s free to see these Pokémon covers as they’re located in a public spot. So, it’s a perfect activity if you’re on a tight budget in Japan.
Where are the Pokémon Manhole Covers Located?
The best way to find the locations of the Poké Lids is to check out this official website.
Then, search by region and by a specific prefecture.
Afterward, click on the cover design and see a list of Pokémon characters available in a specific neighborhood/ward of the city.
Underneath characters’ names, there is an embedded Google Maps with the exact coordinates of the Poké Lid location.
TIPS: Click on the “View larger map,” Google Maps will open in another browser tab. Then “Save” the coordinates to your Google Map List, such as “Want to go” or your own created list (such as Poke Lids).
You may want to write the name of the characters of the specific lid in the Note box.
By clicking on the characters’ names, another browser window opens to a “Pokédex” (a play on words with Pokémon and Rolodex). It has information on the character’s height, category, weight, abilities, and more.
Currently, there are Poké Lids in the following regions and prefectures:
- Hokkaido/Tohoku – Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima
- Kanto – Tochigi, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa
- Chubu – Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Aichi
- Kinki (Kansai) – Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara
- Chugoku/Shikoku – Tottori, Okayama, Yamaguchi, Kagawa
- Kyushu/Okinawa – Fukuoka, Saga, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Okinawa
Now How Do You Find the Physical Pokémon Lids?
So how many do you want to see? Do you have a favorite character? Or are you looking to collect as many lids as possible?
Since you’ve figured out which Poké Lids to see, and now it’s time to see them in person.
Step 1: Figure out when you’ll see these manhole covers.
Will you make a specific trip to the area with the Poké Lids? Or, will arrange the itinerary to stop by thorough the area as a day trip?
The most that we’ve seen is two lids in one day.
Step 2: Determine the best way to get to the area.
Will you need to take a taxi, train, or bus? (We suggest that you use an IC card, such as an ICOCA card, to help you pay for public transportation easier.) Can you walk there?
Some of the covers are in the same area, such as the ones in Tokyo Ueno Park.
We’ve found some in Kyoto and Tokyo, so we only needed to take a bus or train and do a short walk.
But the lids located on an island, such as Okinawa will need more time to get to such as a flight or boat, and will require overnight stays.
Step 3: Bring out your phone to check the Poké Lid coordinates that you’ve saved on Google Maps and start walking.
Sometimes the coordinates are a bit off so it’s a bit of a treasure hunt. The cover is located somewhere nearby the vicinity of the coordinates. It may take a few laps around the area to search for it.
While you’re walking and staring at the ground intensely, please be aware of your surroundings and try not to bump into people.
Step 4: Once you see the cover, snap a photo, and then feel free to explore the rest of the area.
It’s a quick stop to see these lids, so you won’t need more than a minute. Yet, it’s a memorable journey and experience to achieve a milestone and find Poké Lids.
Afterward, you can continue heading to the next destination on your itinerary.
Our Poké Lids Collection
Here are the ones that we’ve found so far:
Finding the Pokémon lids is a fun way to explore popular and hidden gems of Japan.
While many of the Poké Lids are in non-touristy areas, it’s a fantastic opportunity to travel to quieter areas of the country. Plus, you get some fresh air and exercise by walking around and seeing these adorable covers.
With a little preparation, catch a few Poké Lids on your next trip to Japan!
If you have any questions or want to share which lids you’ve seen, please share them in the comment box below.