If you’re planning to visit this Shinto shrine’s Gym, you might want to say some prayers first.
With its clever use of augmented reality that encourages players to travel the globe in search of rare Pocket Monsters, Pokémon GO does a great job delivering on its premise of making you feel like an actual Pokémon Trainer. But while the Pokémon anime and main series games take place in a world of artist-designed whimsy and wonder, Pokémon GO doesn’t always have that luxury. Using actual locations means that many of the mobile title’s beacons sit near such mundane backdrops as a neighborhood playground or post office.
So it was a definite surprise for Japanese Twitter user @nao_halfway when he found a Pokémon Gym in a setting as dramatic and intimidating as anything a graphic designer could have thought up.
茨城県大洗の海岸のポケモンジムなんだが… ジムに近づいてくださいじゃねぇよ… とりあえず、近くのゴミ箱の底にスイッチがないか探してみる。 https://t.co/2jJo5kJiRa—
スミ松 (@nao_halfway) August 15, 2016
@nao_halfway was out and about in the town of Oraimachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, when he spotted a Pokémon GO Gym on his map just off the rocky coastline. Tapping on the icon brought up an image of its guardian Exeggutor, but he was too far away to challenge it, confirmed by the screen prompting him to “Please move closer to the gym.”
That was easier said than done, though, as @nao_halfway discovered when he looked up from his phone and saw the Gym’s physical location.
The Pokémon battleground is tethered to one of the tori gates of Oarai Isosaki Shrine. And no, it’s not the main one that people walk through to offer prayers, but the one that sits on a rocky outcropping that’s regularly battered by large waves.
“Well, guess I’ll start looking under nearby trash cans for switches,” quipped @nao_halfway, referencing the method for opening the secret path to the regular Pokémon games’ well-hidden Vermilion City Gym. This being real life, though, we doubt he found any, so that Exeggutor is probably still in command of the area, proving that even when the combatants are Pocket Monsters, you can’t discount geographic advantages in defending your territory.
Killing time while you wait for the tide to go out so you can hit that Pokémon Gym? Why not see what Casey is up to on Twitter?