September 20, 2023

Pokemon GO in Osaka: Beyond a Game, an Integral Part of Daily Life


In the heart of Osaka, Japan, the time reads 3:06 pm on August 4. A sense of nostalgia fills the air as an Uber ride takes me to the Pokemon Center Osaka, situated within the Daimaru Umeda Store. The excitement is palpable as I reminisce about the days of childhood when ordinary tennis balls transformed into cherished Pokeballs, containing imaginary Pokemon. What once seemed like a fanciful childhood game has led me to Osaka to cover the Pokemon Go Fest 2023, a testament to how Pokemon has evolved from a mere game into an integral part of the city’s daily life.

A Universal Love for Pocket Monsters

From the moment I enter the cab driven by Koji, the warmth of the city’s Pokemon culture becomes evident. The language barrier momentarily dissolves as the familiar jingle of the Pokemon Go background music plays, prompting Koji to exclaim, “Pokemon?” This single word bridges gaps, sparking an engaging conversation between a journalist from India and a Japanese cab driver. The shared passion for the game transcends linguistic differences, showcasing how Pokemon serves as a universal language that unites people from diverse backgrounds.

As the cab journey ends, encounters with Pokemon enthusiasts continue. A child donning a Pikachu hat walks hand in hand with their Pikachu-hatted mother, their attire symbolizing a shared affection for these virtual creatures. A passerby sports a phone cover adorned with the iconic Pokemon logo. These everyday interactions underscore how Pokemon is not confined to a screen; it’s a cultural phenomenon seamlessly woven into daily life.

A Lifelong Bond with Pikachu and Friends

Arriving at the Pokemon Center Osaka unveils a spectacle of ardent fans congregating to celebrate their shared love for Pokemon. The energy is tangible as enthusiasts shop for a myriad of Pokemon merchandise. Unlike conventional stores, the center is bustling on a weekday, a testament to the unwavering connection locals share with Pokemon.

Exploring the center reveals a striking integration of Pokemon into everyday items. From coffee mugs and lunchboxes adorned with Pikachu to AirPods Pro covers and handkerchiefs featuring iconic characters, the everyday becomes a canvas for expressing affection. The presence of Pokemon-inspired stationery and an array of plushies showcases how the enchantment of Pokemon isn’t confined to pixels; it’s a tangible, heartfelt bond.

Beyond the center’s walls, the city breathes Pokemon. The Osaka City Mall sees pedestrians proudly sporting Pokemon-themed accessories, participating in group raids, and engaging in lively Pokemon trades. The fervor is undeniable, even without a shared language. The sparkle in their eyes upon capturing a Pokemon or defeating an adversary speaks volumes of the joy this virtual world brings.

The Ubiquity of Pokemon in Osaka

Osaka’s affinity for Pokemon transcends commercial establishments. Local gift shops peddle Pokemon-themed novelties, while electronics stores feature phone covers with Pikachu and friends. The game’s omnipresence underscores how it isn’t confined to screens; it’s etched into the city’s identity.

A Friendly Reminder of the Enchantment

Two days in Osaka culminate in the Pokemon GO Fest 2023, an international congregation of enthusiasts. Commemorative 70 Park bustles with laughter, camaraderie, and a shared quest for virtual creatures. Adjacent to the festival lies a mall with a sign that reads, “Please do not Pokemon in the store.” This seemingly humorous reminder reflects the game’s deep-rooted popularity, making it necessary to remind patrons not to pursue Pokemon in the midst of everyday tasks.

As I step into the store, turning off the Pokemon Go app, a feeling of connection lingers. The journey through Osaka has affirmed that Pokemon isn’t just a game here; it’s a cherished part of daily life. With a smile, I leave the store with a Pokemon-inspired memento, a reminder of the enchanting city that has seamlessly merged the virtual and the real.


Osaka, Japan, stands as a testament to the transformation of Pokemon from a childhood game into an integral part of daily existence. Beyond being a mere form of entertainment, Pokemon has woven itself into the social fabric, transcending language barriers and uniting individuals under the banner of a shared passion. As visitors traverse the streets of Osaka, they are reminded that the virtual world of Pokemon is more than a game; it’s a beloved companion in the journey of life.