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Pokemon Go players flock to ‘sacred’ park in Nagoya

An aerial Google Maps view of
A Google Maps view of Tsuruma Park, known among Pokemon Go players as “sacred ground”

NAGOYA (TR) – Hundreds of Pokemon Go players have been flocking to a park here since Saturday night, dubbing the hotspot “sacred ground” due to the resemblance one of the park’s features has with a key part of the game.

Players were glued to their smartphones as they wandered around and sat on benches at Tsuruma Park on Sunday morning in Showa Ward, Nagoya, as loudspeaker messages urged players to “please look around, check your surroundings and stand still before playing,” the Asahi Shimbun reports (July 24).

When viewed from above, a water fountain in the middle of the park looks like a Poke ball, which is a sphere that players use to capture monster characters.

A 23-year-old graduate student from the area told the Asahi that they rushed to the park after they saw Twitter users referring to it as “sacred ground.”

“I saw the huge crowds and felt like the game was all the rage,” the student said.

A 77-year-old man who came from Mihama City, Aichi Prefecture, was walking around with his granddaughter, who is a high school student.

“I don’t really understand what’s so fun about the game, but I figured it would be a good way to keep my mind sharp,” the man told the Asahi. “It’s nice having something in common with my grandkid.”

“Blastoise festival”

An even larger mass of Pokemon hunters were streaming into the area just before midnight on Saturday after a Twitter user claimed they caught Mewtwo, an incredibly rare Pokemon, at the park.

Sharp-eyed players were quick to debunk the tweeted claim as a fake photoshopped effort, but word had spread like wildfire and the park was teeming with players by 1 a.m.

The prank tweet was overshadowed by confirmed sightings of Blastoise, a rare Pokemon, prompting the impromptu gathering to be dubbed a “Blastoise matsuri” festival.