Thousands of Pikachu (and Eevee) have once again returned to Yokohama, Japan this year. After taking a break from the event last year, I was eager and excited to make it back to see the biggest number of Pikachu ever. In this article I’ve given a brief write-up of my experience and some photographs for everyone to get a taste of what the event is all about.
What is Pikachu Outbreak!?
Insane. That’s what it is. The event is basically a week long celebration of Pokémon; featuring tons of Pikachu (and Eevee) in parades and performances, special Pokémon GO Fests, limited pop-up stores and other Pokémon-fan friendly attractions.
I didn’t get a chance to do everything the event has to offer, but I made sure to visit some of the highlights from the event this year. Read on…
Pokémon Digital Stamp Rally
Stamp rallies are a huge thing in Japan and a somewhat simple idea. Players must visit all of the locations in the rally to get a stamp on their card and win prizes. Usually the rallies feature physical stamp cards for players to use, but this event was digital, using popular messaging app LINE to deliver digital stamps direct to phones.
I quickly forgot about the rally, only getting the first stamp at Pokémon Center Yokohama as I was focused on getting to performance areas on time. Digital prizes and chances to win physical merchandise were available to those who collected every stamp, though.
Pokémon GO Fest Yokohama
The entire event takes place in a huge area of Minatomirai in Yokohama, Japan. Upon arrival I found myself in huge area dedicated to Pokémon GO, filled with hundreds of people swiping and catching on their phones.
There were two areas set up especially for GO, one in Rinko Park and the other in Yokohama’s Red Brick Warehouse area. Both were decorated with Pokémon inflatables and special GO artwork.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t really play GO any more, but it was still fun to see so many people come together just to play the game. A fair few people approached me to ask if they could add me as a friend, something that really made it feel like a true community of fans.
Drink & Ice Shop by Pokémon Café
The Pokémon Café made an appearance at the event this year with their pop-up shops, selling Pikachu drinks and ice bars. This was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to visit the event this year as I’m a sucker for limited edibles. Heh.
The goods were found in Pikachu-themed minivans situated in the Pokémon GO Fest areas mentioned earlier. I had to queue for 30 minutes to get drinks, because I knew they had sold out previously, but it was worth it. Mostly. I decided to pick up the mango and pineapple tapioca drink (600 yen) and a pineapple ice bar (500 yen), a little pricey but that’s the price (heh) you pay for limited items.
It’s probably worth noting that it was a pretty hot and humid day when I visited, so the drinks and ice bars were definitely refreshing. I managed to pull the best Pikachu face from selection of four on the ice bars, as pictured below.
Parades and Performances
The most popular part of these events are always the performances and parades performed by Pikachu across the city. This year they were joined by a single Eevee parade too.
Whether it was a parade or a performance, both featured Pikachu that danced around in choreographed sequences with lights and music. One of the most mind blowing things about these shows was the pure scale of them. Backdrops ranged from views of thematically lit ports, to forests with looming skyscrapers in the distance. All were truly stunning.
All of the performances were wonderful and felt magical, even as an adult. There’s not much that can be said with words that pictures don’t say, so please enjoy the gallery below.
This year it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and seeing hundreds of Pikachu jump and bounce about is something I’d fully recommend to anyone lucky enough to be in Japan when the event returns next year. Just be sure to allow enough time for you to get from location to location, so you can see as many of the shows as possible.
We hope you enjoyed this quick overview of this years Pikachu Outbreak! Hopefully we will attend again next year and continue to give our readers glimpses of life in the homeland of Pokémon.