Our Pokémon GO-loving reporter walks Pikachu’s Past and Present Route.

Last weekend, the Pokémon GO Eight Views of the Asakusa Routes event kicked off. Its name coming from a play-on-words with famous ukiyo-e woodblock painting series such as the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo and Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, Pokémon GO Eight Views of the Asakusa Routes links the world of the Pokémon franchise with Tokyo’s historical Asakusa neighborhood by combining real-world art displays and the gameplay of the Pokémon GO mobile game.

▼ Promotional key art for Pokémon GO Eight Views of the Asakusa Routes

As always SoraNews24’s resident Pokémon GO superfan, reporter P.K. Sanjun, was up to the challenge. Arriving in Asakusa on Saturday, the first day of the two-week event, he found the popular sightseeing district especially abuzz with visitors.

The event utilizes Pokémon GO’s Routes feature, with a total of eight paths for players to follow through the Asakusa neighborhood, each represented by a different species of Pocket Monster. P.K. decided to follow the Past and Present Route, which has Pikachu as its symbol.

Jumping to the conclusion, P.K. says the event was “Fantastic!”, which really means something coming from a guy who’s been to as many Pokémon GO festivals as he as. So what made it so great? Three things, P.K. reports.

First, the organizers have done a great job giving the real-world environment a sense of Pokémon atmosphere. You play the event by following a route that connects two PokéStops, and along the way, P.K. noticed tons of Pokémon artwork.

There were banners and physical PokéStops, but what was really cool were the ways Pokémon art blended with the old-school aesthetics of Asakusa, Tokyo’s most traditional entertainment district.

In addition to ukiyo-e-style maps and murals, P.K. say that some local rickshaw, or jinrikisha, pullers have temporarily rebranded themselves as Kairiki-sha pullers (Kairiki being Machamp’s name in Japanese-language versions of the series).

P.K. also got a smile when a chindonya passed by. Chindonya are traditional Japanese marching bands that offered their services promoting local businesses, wearing their sponsors’ marks as they paraded around the neighborhood playing music. So during Pokémon GO Eight Views of the Asakusa Routes, there’s a Pokémon chindonya.

The second thing that made the event awesome for P.K. was the routes themselves. Since he lives in Tokyo, this wasn’t P.K.’s first trip to Asakusa, but following the route took him down some streets even he’d never been on before, and probably wouldn’t have ever walked down otherwise, letting him see new parts of the neighborhood.

And last, somewhat counterintuitively, P.K. really enjoyed the fact that unlike most other Pokémon GO events, Pokémon GO Eight Views of the Asakusa Routes isn’t heavily focused on increased encounter rates for rare types of Pokémon. Don’t get us wrong, P.K. has taken some very long trips to track down rare species, and happily would again. Those kinds of events do come with a downside, though, which is that he ends up spending as much time looking at his phone’s screen as he does the surrounding scenery.

Not that there weren’t plenty of Pokémon to catch and PokéStops to hit in Asakusa. But not having to keep his eyes constantly peeled for rare breeds meant P.K. could also spend a little more time looking at the sites around him. The result is a really nice balance between enjoying being in Asakusa and enjoying playing Pokémon GO.

Pokémon GO Eight Views of the Asakusa Routes is going on until December 10.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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