A giant rock that resembles video game character Pac-Man is drawing climbers to a mountain in southwestern Japan, with visitors eager to capture images to share on social networks.
A 90-minute hike from the Shishigawa campground in Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture, takes mountain climbers and tourists to «Pakkun Iwa» (Pac-Man Rock). The boulder, around 7 meters in diameter, lies on a trail leading to the top of 1,277-meter-high Mt. 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 that Pac-Man eats in the video game.
The rock is located in the Sobo-Katamuki-Okue mountain range that was designated as a biosphere reserve by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization last year.
According to Masao Todaka, head of a local environmental conservation group Forest Mantoru Kamishishigawa, images of the boulder have been shared many times on social networking sites such as Instagram since the spring of last year.
The rock’s popularity has kept the group busy dealing with inquiries about directions, in addition to improving roads and setting up signs.
While welcoming the increasing number of new visitors, Todaka, 64, warns people to properly equip themselves with mountain gear as a river has to be crossed to reach Pac-Man Rock.
«We want you to enjoy yourselves while acting responsibly as mountain climbers,» Todaka said.
The video game became a huge hit in Japan and other countries after its initial release in 1980 by a predecessor of Bandai Namco Holdings Inc.
All — Kyodo News+