MIYAZAKI - A giant rock resembling Pac-Man is drawing climbers to a mountain in Miyazaki Prefecture, with visitors eager to snap photos to share on the internet.
A 90-minute hike from the Shishigawa campground in Nobeoka, takes mountain climbers and tourists to “Pakkun Iwa” (“Pac-Man Rock”). The boulder, about 7 meters in diameter, sits on a trail leading to the top of 1,277-meter Mount Hoko.
The large opening in the lower part of the rock prompts visitors to strike funny poses, as if they are being devoured like the dots and fruit the round yellow character eats in its namesake video game.
The rock is in the Sobo-Katamuki-Okue mountain range, which was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO last year.
According to Masao Todaka, head of the local environmental conservation group Forest Mantoru Kamishishigawa, images of the boulder have been shared many times on Instagram and other social networking sites since the spring of last year.
The rock’s popularity has kept the group busy dealing with inquiries about how to best reach it, in addition to improving roads and setting up signs.
While welcoming the increase in visitors, Todaka, 64, warns people to properly equip themselves with the proper gear because a river must be crossed to reach the rock. “We want you to enjoy yourselves while acting responsibly as mountain climbers,” she said.
“Pac-Man” made its debut in video game arcades in 1980 and went on to become one of the most popular games in the world. It was created by Namco, one of the predecessors of Bandai Namco Holdings Inc.