Pokéfuta spread to the northernmost region of Japan with adorable appearances by Vulpix, Ninetails, and many more Pokémon!

One of the secrets to the sustained popularity of the Pokémon franchise is how every couple of years, the designers populate another region of the games’ world with a slew of new Pocket Monsters to find. But that’s not something that’s happening just in the Pokémon games and anime, but in real-life Japan too!

In recent years, fans in Japan have added another Poké-vocabulary word to their personal lexicons: Pokéfuta, decorative manholes featuring adorable Pokémon species posing at local landmarks (futa being the Japanese word for “cover” or “lid”). So far, Pokéfuta have appeared in Kanagawa, Kagoshima, Iwate, and Miyagi Prefectures, plus, of course, Kagawa, since that’s the prefecture that named a Pokémon as its governor. Now, though, Pokéfuta are headed to Japan’s northernmost prefecture of all: the island of Hokkaido!

The star this time around is fox-like Fire-type Vulpix, who appears in both standard and Alola versions. Considering that the Alola region is based on tropical Hawaii, Alola Vulpix might seem like a strange choice for Hokkaido, which is colder than any other part of Japan, but Alola Vulpix’s pure-white coat goes well with the prefecture’s snowy scenery.

A total of 15 different designs will be installed, each a one-of-kind creation that can be found nowhere else in the world.

▼ Left: Pokéfuta for the town of Mori, with Alola Vulpix and Inkay
Right: Pokéfuta for Kaminokuni, with Vulpix and Chimchar

▼ Left: Shibetsu (Vulpix and Mareep)
Right: Pippu (Alola Vulpix and Piplup)

▼ Left: Teshio (Vulpix and Alola Vulpix)
Right: Wakkanai (Alola Vulpix and Alola Ninetales)

▼ Left: Toyotomi (Alola Vulpix and Miltank)
Right: Monbestu (Alola Vulpix and Spheal)

▼ Left: Engaru (Alola Vulpix and Froslass)
Right: Ozora (Vulpix and Staraptor)

▼ Left: Shintoku (Alola Vulpix and Teddiursa)
Right: Ashoro (Alola Vulpix, Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie)

▼ Left: Ishikari (Vulpix and Turtwig)
Right: Eniwa (Vulpix)

▼ And finally, Toyako (Vulpix and Swinub)

You may have noticed that the list of locations doesn’t include Sapporo’s most famous cities, such as Sapporo, Otaru, or Hakodate. That’s because the hope is that the Pokéfuta will help bring travelers to less well-known parts of Hokkaido, giving Pokémon fans the opportunity to experience a side of the prefecture they might never have otherwise. Luckily, there’s an interactive map on the official Pokéfuta website here with exact addresses and Google Maps coordinates for each.

The installation dates vary by specific manhole cover, but are scheduled for:
● Spring (Shibetsum, Wakkanai, Ishikari)
● November 28 (Pippu, Teshio, Eniwa)
● November 29 (Ashiyoru)
● December 2 (Kaminokuni)
● December 6 (Monbetsu)
● Early December (Toyotomi)
● December 22 (Engaru)
● Late December (Shintoku
● December (Ozora)
● Early January (Mori)
● Late January (Toyako)

Each Pokéfuta is also going to be a Pokémon GO Pokéstop, so don’t forget to bring your phone (and, of course, your warmest clothes if you’re headed to Hokkaido in the middle of winter).

Source, images: PR Times
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where yes, of course he’s visited his town’s Pikachu Pokéfuta.