New Pokémon Theme Park That Celebrates Nature Opening In Japan

New Pokémon Theme Park That Celebrates Nature Opening In Japan
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.

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 alike take on the role of a Pokémon researcher alike, 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 climb. Because the characters are recreated with leaves or acorns, it’s harder to spot them than if they were brightly-coloured game or anime recreations. The idea is that parkgoers are supposed to hunt for them, and in doing so, appreciate the beauty of nature.

Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. 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 printout with clues, but 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.

Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

You must search for traces of Pokémon.

Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

Do you see anything?

Image: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. Image: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

Ah, Oddish!

Image: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. Image: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

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

Image: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. Image: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

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

Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

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

Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

A marble Omanyte.

Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. Photo: ©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.

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.

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