New Pokémon Theme Park That Celebrates Nature Opening In Japan

What better way to experience Pokémon than through nature?

Pokémon Wonder understands the essence of Pokémon.
Pokémon Wonder understands the essence of Pokémon.
Image: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

Earlier this week, The Pokémon Company teased what I thought were Pocket Monster handicrafts. I was wrong! But what was ultimately announced is way better than I could have ever imagined.

Advertisement

Behold Pokémon Wonder, a 48,000-square foot forest filled with natural beauty and, well, Pocket Monsters. The theme park is located just behind Tokyo’s largest amusement park Yomiuriland (Tokyo Disney is actually in Chiba!). Located in Inagi City, it can be reached in less than 30 minutes from Shinjuku. The forest has been untouched for the past twenty years, so it’s a perfect place to connect—or reconnect, even—with nature.

Pokémon Wonder bills itself as a “nature adventure.” Here, kids and adults can take on the role of a Pokémon researcher, as they trek through grassy fields and bamboo thickets, trying to spot different Pocket Monsters.

Instead of plushie toy versions or virtual recreations, the Pokémon are handmade—something that was hinted at in the teaser footage. Because the characters are recreated with leaves or acorns, it’s harder to spot them than if they were brightly-colored game or anime recreations. The idea is that parkgoers are supposed to hunt for them, and in doing so, appreciate the beauty of nature.

A grassy field where you’d expect to find Pokémon.
A grassy field where you’d expect to find Pokémon.
Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

First, visitors are given an orientation of what to look for, and have a print-out with clues. To give you an idea of how tricky it might be to find the Pokémon, here is the first area, which is called Wonder Field.

A wild Pokémon should appear!
A wild Pokémon should appear!
Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Advertisement

Visitors will need to search for traces of Pokémon.

Can you tell what Pokémon that is?
Can you tell what Pokémon that is?
Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Advertisement

Do you see anything?

Oddish is one adorable Pocket Monster.
Oddish is one adorable Pocket Monster.
Image: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Advertisement

Ah, Oddish!

A perfect rendition of the Pokémon Diglett.
A perfect rendition of the Pokémon Diglett.
Image: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Advertisement

Here are more examples of Pocket Monsters scattered throughout the park.

Spotting this Pokémon would be tricky!
Spotting this Pokémon would be tricky!
Image: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Advertisement

For example, Metapod, made from a single palm leaf.

The bow tie is absolutely delightful.
The bow tie is absolutely delightful.
Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Advertisement

Rowlet, carved from camphor tree wood and outfitted with a tsubaki leaf.

This is definitely one of the neatest Pokémon recreations at the theme park.
This is definitely one of the neatest Pokémon recreations at the theme park.
Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Advertisement

A marble Omanyte.

Finding this Pocket Monster seems hard!
Finding this Pocket Monster seems hard!
Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Advertisement

Seedot made from a Hokkaido acorn with little wooden feet attached.

How creative and wonderful. I love this.

Considering how Pokémon was inspired by childhood bug-collecting, and has long had a close connection to nature, there probably is no better or more fitting way to bring it alive than this.

Advertisement

Pokémon Wonder will open on Saturday, July 17, and will run through April 3, 2022, at Yomiuriland.

DISCUSSION

By
Christian B. Christiansen

I wonder how long it’ll be until visitors start stealing those Pokémons..

Unless.. that’s the point?

Is that the point?

I don’t think that’s the point.. is it?