NAMIE, Fukushima Pref.: Japan’s first park featuring characters from the popular anime and game series Pocket Monster, or Pokémon, has opened at a roadside station in the town of Namie in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima.
Namie is known as the birthplace of the farther of the original creator of Pokémon.
The park, named “Lucky Koen in Namiemachi,” has playground equipment including a slide and a 6-meter tall playset in the shape of Chansey, a Pokémon character known in Japan as Lucky.
Chansey has been chosen as a character cheering for the reconstruction efforts in Fukushima, which hosts Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, damaged by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequently triggered huge tsunami in March 2011.
The park “has become the best Christmas gift for children,” Namie Mayor Kazuhiro Yoshida said at the park’s opening ceremony on Sunday.
“We want to make full efforts to allow (local residents) to feel proud of their hometown, Namie,” he added.
On Sunday, some 50 children who live in Namie visited the park.
“As Chansey is a Pokémon character that brings good fortune, I want (Chansey) to bring back people who lived in Namie (before the March 2011 disasters),” said Keito Togawa, a 12-year-old elementary school student, who came to the park with his parents.
In February 2019, the Fukushima prefectural government signed a partnership agreement with an operating company of the Pokémon business to promote the reconstruction of disaster-affected areas.
Parks similar to Lucky Koen in Namie will open in the city of Koriyama, the town of Yanaizu and the village of Showa, all in Fukushima, according to the prefectural government.