A Tourist’s Guide to Pokémon Go in Tokyo

READER WRITTEN GUIDE // Written by Trainer Canadoman, a Japanese/Canadian trainer based in Muscat, Oman. He has played Pokémon Go in 9 countries, and has recently visited Tokyo for a family vacation.

Pokémon GO Anniversary Event

With trainers from around the world flocking to Yokohama for the Pokémon Go Park/Stadium events in August 2017, they’ll most likely be stopping to play Pokémon Go in Tokyo as well!

Tokyo offers a spectacular cultural experience, and has a lot to offer to Pokémon Go players as well. This guide will enhance your Pokémon Go experience in Tokyo, as well as give you an idea of good Pokémon Go etiquette and how to find the regional exclusive Farfetch’d!

On Arrival in Tokyo

Konnichiwa! Welcome to Tokyo!

Most likely, you’ll be flying in to either Narita International Airport or Haneda International Airport. While at the airport, you can rent a “Pocket Wi-Fi” device at cellular service provider booths like NTT Docomo or Softbank. This device allows you to carry a mobile internet hotspot with you. This is very useful for playing Pokémon Go. Rentals are subject to availability.

To get to downtown Tokyo, the cheapest and quickest way is usually the train. All train information is available in both Japanese and English. (By the way, most train stations are either pokéstops or gyms!)

Playing Pokémon Go in Tokyo

Pokémon Go is one of the most popular mobile games in Japan. You can find lots of people playing it in the city.

Upon opening the game, you will notice that Japan has a lot of sponsored pokéstops. These include McDonald’s, 7-11, Aeon Supermarkets, Ito-En vending machines and many, many more. Some sponsored Poké Stops will be marked with signage on the windows, as seen in the image below.

Ito-En Sponsored Poké Stop signage / AEON Sponsored Poké Stop signage

Some stores that sponsor Pokémon Go will allow you to play in their shops; however, some may ask you to play outside or to not walk while looking at your phone, as it can be a hazard to other people in the store.

In downtown Tokyo, you can find pokéstops and gyms everywhere (at least one on every street in the downtown core). Tokyo has a lot of statues, monuments and cultural artifacts that are pokéstops in-game. If you’re looking for clusters of pokéstops, you might want to head to the Ginza, Akihabara or Odaiba districts. You might find some neat Pokémon nests in these areas as well. The sponsored Poké Stops are often lured. All of these areas are accessible by train.

As mentioned in the previous section, train stations have pokéstops and gyms. However, this is only true for smaller, less busy stations. Larger stations like Tokyo Station have had their Poké Stops removed by Niantic, as they have had previous issues of people falling onto the tracks or not paying attention to other people in the station.

Large parks like Ueno Park have also had some of their stops removed due to overcrowding and the amount of garbage left behind after thousands of Pokémon Go players went through the park.

If you’re going to be playing Pokémon Go in Tokyo, please be courteous to other people, and clean up after yourself. The Japanese like to keep things clean; please use recycling bins and the appropriate waste facilities.

Special Place to Visit: The Pokémon Center

Yes, your dream of visiting a real-life Pokémon Center is now a reality! In Japan, there are over 20 Pokémon Centers which you can visit and enjoy an amazing Pokémon shopping experience.

At the Pokémon Center, you can…

  • Open Pokémon Go and collect a gym badge from spinning the gym disc
  • Take pictures with Pokémon around the store
  • Buy a Pokémon Go Plus
  • Buy Pokémon plushies, toys, games, clothing, stationery and much, much more!
This is a photo from the Pokémon Center I visited near the Tokyo Skytree. It is located in the Tokyo Solamachi building, just meters away from Tokyo Skytree Metro Station.

Finding Farfetch’d (Asia’s Regional Exclusive Pokémon)

In downtown Tokyo, Farfetch’d can be somewhat of a challenge to find. As with all regional Pokémon, it is not very common and only pops up every once in a while. The best places to look for it are areas that have both grass and water, such as public gardens, parks and canals. Farfetch’d have also spawned in the city, but this is likely to be a random occurrence.

Whether visiting Tokyo before or after the Yokohama event in August, I wish you happy hunting!