Join us on a Polywhirlwind tour of Utsunomiya.

The wave of Pokéfuta, manhole covers decorated with various Pokémon, continues to sweep the nation. For hardcore fans of the game like our own Ikuna Kamezawa, the proliferation is happening far faster than she can keep up with in order to catch a glimpse of them all.

In February of this year, the newest set of Pokéfuta spawned at three locations around Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture. So, in order to ensure she could see them all in one day, Ikuna boarded a train at 8:09 a.m. and arrived at Utsunomiya Station at 10 a.m. on the dot.

Shortly after Ikuna’s faithful companion in these journeys, Pokéfuta Aniki, casually emerged from the Shinkansen bullet train gate.

Ikuna was a little drowsy from her long ride, but Pokéfuta Aniki moved through the streets with a sense of purpose and vigor that only one who enjoyed the creature comforts of a high speed train could possess. Still, she was glad he came along. Pokéfuta Aniki had a sixth-sense for Pokémon manhole covers, loads of EXP, and a keen nose for danger. He would be a valuable addition to her party on this adventure.

After about 30 minutes of walking, the team arrived at the entrance to Hachimanyama Park. However, they would first have to traverse a very long creaky suspension bridge. Ikuna was afraid of heights, and worse — there was some snow and ice along the way. Slipping on it would lead to a serious loss of HP.

It was too late to turn back, so Ikuna closed her eyes and cried as she shuffled across the expanse. It wasn’t until she reached the other side that she learned there was another way to get into the park without using a bridge, and only about 100 meters (328 feet) away.

At 11:40, the team made contact with their first Pokéfuta. It was a beautifully designed Thundurus lid and since it was brand new, the colors were very vivid.

Ikuna booted up her Pokémon GO’s AR feature and chose her own Thundurus for a photoshoot.

Of course, the problem with AR is that to everyone else, you end up looking like a weirdo taking pictures of empty space.

She got a great shot with both Thunduruses (Thunduri?) at nearly the same angle. It was as if he were descending from the heavens to his designated landing pad

Even better, because she was traveling with a group, everyone could bring a member of the Forces of Nature into one shot.

It was a lot of fun, but the day was getting late and there were still two more manholes to catch! To find the next one, the team would have to take a 35-minute train ride to the outskirts of Utsunomiya City where Romantic Village was located.

Right away, Ikuna spotted the second Pokéfuta, this time with an Electrike and two Crustles.

All Pokéfuta have PokéStops attached to them, so a neat way to get a little souvenir from a visit to one is to put a lure module in it. This way you can get a screenshot of the Pokéfuta Pokéstop with your in-game handle on it.

The only problem is that modules last about 30 minutes, so if you’re in a group only one person can do it unless you want to hang around for a long time.

As luck would have it, they did have a long time to kill because the bus to the next manhole wasn’t for another two hours. Ikuna was feeling really cold and all the buildings were closed at the time. Pokéfuta Aniki, however, seemed unfazed. A burning fire of pure Poképassion kept him taking photos in the frigid temperatures.

After a 35-minute bus ride back to the center of the city. The team raced to the final Pokéfuta that was located in Utusnomiya Station East Park. It was getting very late and they still had to catch their trains out of the city while there was still time.

They arrived at the third and final manhole lid with precious moments to spare. This one had an Electabuzz and Skwovet on it enjoying the yellow foliage of ginkgo trees in autumn.

In addition to the ticking clock, Ikuna struggled to trigger her AR Pokémon in the low-light conditions of the park at night. Still, she managed to find the right angle and could get a nice action-packed two shot.

From there the team raced back to Utsunomiya Station. When they reached the gate, Pokéfuta Aniki seemed pleasantly satisfied and bid everyone a peppy farewell as he headed towards his bullet train back home.

Comfy transportation is probably one of the keys to being a seasoned Pokéfuta hunter like him. Ikuna still had a lot to learn, but her mind was too preoccupied with leg cramps to think about it at the time. Regardless, she felt a sense of accomplishment for catching them all on this day. Someday her Pokéfutadex would be complete and she could fondly look back on all these adventures and challenges she faced.

At about 10 p.m. Ikuna arrived at her home in Tokyo and blacked out.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]