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.
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.
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.
Visitors will need to search for traces of Pokémon.
Do you see anything?
Here are more examples of Pocket Monsters scattered throughout the park.
For example, Metapod, made from a single palm leaf.
Rowlet, carved from camphor tree wood and outfitted with a tsubaki leaf.
A marble Omanyte.
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.
Pokémon Wonder will open on Saturday, July 17, and will run through April 3, 2022, at Yomiuriland.