You’re reading the fourth chapter of my eight-day travelogue, which chronicles my incredible trip to Japan to cover the 2023 Pokémon World Championships.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the other chapters:
Day 4 – Psyduck Fan, Unleashed
Pokémon takes over Yokohama
7:45 o clock – I actually wake up feeling rested for the first time since we arrived in Japan. The first stop of the day is the Shibuya Pokémon Center. Afterwards we have time to explore the area, shop and eat. I think I should have a light breakfast. I go to the buffet and get a malasada donut, a Spanish omelet, a croissant, orange slices, berry pastries, chocolate pastries, coffee, orange juice, thin berry pancakes and a piping hot piece of lasagna.
8:25 a.m – We get on the bus and start our journey to Shibuya. It strikes me that this is our fourth day here and the World Cup hasn’t even started yet, and yet we’ve seen and done an amazing amount. We actually get the full experience. This feeling remained for the next two hours.
10:25 a.m – Two hours later we arrive at the Pokémon Center Shibuya on the sixth floor of the Shibuya Parco shopping center in Tokyo. This is the third Pokémon Center of the trip, but there are still new things to discover. The first thing that catches the group’s eye is the newly released Wigglet plush toy. As you can see, it looks perfectly fine and there’s nothing more to say about it.
10:35 am – I see a line forming behind a row of machines and discover that you can use them to design your own Pokémon shirt!
After waiting a few minutes, I sit on a console and scroll through all the options. There are a whole range of layouts and styles, and I’m drawn to the layout that allows you to showcase your team of six Pokémon.
I decide to imitate these Pokémon trainers from the games, whose team consists of the same unevolved Pokémon, and then the last one is the evolved form, but with my favorite Pokémon, Psyduck!
After I submit my design, an employee tells me it will take an hour for the shirt to be printed and ready for pickup.
10:55 am – On the way to the checkout I find a Pikachu fan and decide to make the most important and life-saving purchase of my entire trip because today somehow feels even hotter than before.
11:23 a.m – With my purchases in hand, I go to the Nintendo Store opposite the Pokémon Center and say hello to the Hero of Time. I’m tempted to buy something here too, but manage to muster some self-control. The first time for everything!
11:41 am – We decide to get some food and end up in the lowest level of the mall, a basement with mirrored ceilings full of different restaurants. I order mackerel with herb breadcrumbs, with a salad, mashed potatoes and a spicy hot sauce on the side. It’s the bomb.
11:55 a.m – The bus is leaving soon, so we head back to the Pokémon Center to pick up our t-shirts after they’ve had time to print. That’s great.
3:00 p.m – After a short break, we meet again to attend the Pokémon x NHK Symphony Special Orchestra. We’ve been walking around so much over the last few days that it’s a nice change to sit back, relax and enjoy some nice Pokémon music.
Part one of the program treats us to classical music from the various locations that have hosted the Pokémon World Championships over the years, ultimately ending here in Japan. It’s a fun trip down memory lane that showcases the competition’s legacy, the cool designs from past World Cups and the many players who have made a name for themselves over the years. It’s a worthy tribute that captures the excitement and camaraderie that defines every World Cup. It also reminds me that my first World Cup was in San Francisco in 2016.
The second part of the program treats us to the opening theme of all main series Pokémon video games, while the third part is a selection of tunes from the Paldea region. The show culminates with “Victory Lies Before You!” from Pokémon Black and White, an energetic piece that ends things with a bang. This is a fantastic choice as I’m really looking forward to the start of the World Cup tomorrow. Plus, everyone knows that black and white music simply resonates differently.
5:20 p.m – The excellent orchestral performance gives me just enough energy to get back to the hotel. The tiredness of the last few days finally catches up with me and I lie unconscious on the bed without eating dinner or undressing.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Day 5 when the Pokémon World Championships finally begin!
Until then, check out our other Pokémon Worlds coverage: