150 is no ordinary number for Pokémon fans, especially for those who’ve played the Pokémon Red and Blue games. The original Game Boy titles challenged players to catch all 150 species, and the East Japan Railway Company (otherwise known as JR East) has adapted the approach for the celebration of a major milestone.
To mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the very first train line in Japan, the company is joining forces with The Pokémon Company to run a special event called “Let’s Find the 150 Pokémon Hidden in the Station”. As the name suggests, individuals are encouraged to find all of the 150 Gen-1 critters and snap pictures of them across 16 different stations.
The search-and-hunt affair will kick off on 14 October at the site of the original Shimbashi Station in Tokyo — now a historically-preserved building — before expanding to Omiya (Saitama Prefecture), Takasaki (Gunma), Nagano (Nagano), Ichinoseki (Iwate), and Akita (Akita).
The starting point is a callback of significance to the first railway line, which ran from Shimbashi Station to what’s now Sakuragicho Station in Yokohama. By the end of November, the Pokémon pantheon will also drop off at these remaining stations:
- Sakuragicho (Kanagawa Prefecture)
- Hachioji (Tokyo)
- Mito (Ibaraki)
- Chiba (Chiba)
- Fukushima (Fukushima)
- Sendai (Miyagi)
- Minami-Kesennuma (Miyagi)
- Yamagata (Yamagata)
- Shin Aomori (Aomori)
- Shin Niigata (Niigata)
Finding all 150 species isn’t probably going to be easy, just like within the Pokémon game and anime universes, but you should be able to catch some of them more easily. The promotional photo seems to imply that there will be critters laying in plain sight, and with many of the participating stations located along Shinkansen lines, those travelling around Japan are likely to encounter a few at least. This Pokémon event lasts till late March next year, so there’s plenty of time for fans to suss out the possible hiding spots in all 16 train stations.