Get the groove, got to move! Get on down with Pikachu!
The stereos blast catchy music as people snap shots of a certain yellow mouse-like creature. This past Sunday, Pokémon fans of all ages got on down to Yokohama to dance with Pikachu at the Pikachu Parade. People lined Sakura Street to watch hundreds of Ash’s electric friends bounce around to the upbeat music.
Those more coordinated could dance along, with a tutorial available on the event website
. This week marks the third annual Pikachu Outbreak Festival
, or in Japanese, “Pikachu Tairyo Hassei-Chu”. First held in 2014, the event turns Yokohama’s Minato Mirai
area into a Pikachu hot spot for seven days! Yes, you can still head down there until 8/14 -- You haven't missed the fun!
Hundreds of the red-cheeked electric mouse can be spotted all over town in various shows and activities. Each year, the event promises a more shocking experience with a brand new theme. For 2016, festival organizers are pulling out the big guns -- nerf water guns, that is. This year’s theme is staying cool by getting soaked.
Hundreds of Pikachu walk in the Pikachu Parade -- Photo by Delilah
The Festival will have two shows that promise to make a splash. “Splash Up” and “Splash Kingdom” are both held in the Red Brick Warehouse
located in the Shinko District. These “super soaking splash events” use water cannons to drench the audience during the performance. Organizers warn attendees to take care of their electronics and protect them from getting wet at these shows. Both of them run twice daily.
You can see the most famous Pokémon at many other shows and events throughout Minato Mirai. In World Porters, say aloha to Pikachu at one of the three daily hula performances. Test yourself at the Pokémon Quiz Rally in the Landmark Plaza building or get yourself a ticket for the six-minute show on the third floor. Stop by
Cosmoworld for Pikachu-themed rides and games or just take some selfies in front of the large blow-up Pikachu.
Fans sport their Pikachu visors while walking from venue to venue -- Photo by Delilah
On Sunday, I saw the “Smile Smile Smile” show at Queen’s Square. Getting there about 45 minutes early, I found most of the good spots were already tarped and taken. I managed to find a viewpoint from the floor above, so I claimed it and buckled down for the wait.
From my perch, I noticed many of the attendees came with family, friends or significant others. While the age range varied and included many young adults, most of the activities and shows were geared towards children. Nevertheless, older fans throughout the festival donned the cardboard Pikachu visors and memorabilia.
Pokémon fans of all ages wait for the "Smile Smile Smile" show -- Photo by Delilah
The show started and two Pikachu glided out from behind the curtains. I looked at their feet and realized the white stage floor was actually ice! While the Pikachu can’t do any pirouettes (their round bodies would probably just roll like a bowling ball), they skated and danced alongside their human friends to the enjoyment of onlookers. Children followed along and danced in the front row like it was Coachella for kids. By the end of the performance, I certainly had a smile on my face.
Pikachu dance on ice at the "Smile Smile Smile" show -- Photo by Delilah
The Pikachu Outbreak Festival is free and runs until Sunday, August 14th. If you’re a Pokémon fan and in the area, make sure to stop by and dance along with Pikachu.
Tickets are not available for shows, so I recommend arriving at the performance area about an hour early for a good view. For Pokémon Go players, note that the festival does not have any special events or programs running, though I am sure you can catch some of the pocket monsters around town if you are into the global PokemonGo frenzy.
Pokémon Go players are reminded of the games vibrate function & that they don't need to constantly look at their phones -- Photo by Delilah
You can get to Minato Mirai by taking the Minatomirai Line to Minatomirai Station. Take the Toyoko Line for Motomachi-Chukagai at Shibuya Station. The line will merge at Yokohama Station and continue on as the Minatomirai Line.
You can also access Minato Mirai from Sakuragicho Station via the Negishi and Yokohama lines. The Negishi Line has through-service via the Keihin-Tohoku Line to Omiya. The Yokohama Line goes to Hachioji Station.
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