Not only can you catch ’em all in Tottori’s sand dunes, but the very cutest ones will welcome you to the prefecture!

Tottori Prefecture already grabbed our interest a couple of years ago, when they staged an entire PR campaign based around inviting prospective Pokémon masters to come to their sand dunes and catch barrels of critters in the popular app game Pokémon GO. They held a similar Pokémon GO event in November last year that drew unprecedented crowds of 89,000 to the quiet area.

Well, now they’re joining the ranks of Kagawa prefecture by inviting a fictional monster to come serve on their council as an official ambassador. Cute pangolin Pokémon sandshrew will perform duties until January 14, and during that time Tottori will hold stamp rallies and release special merchandise in the hope of enticing more trainers to their tourist hot spots.

▼ The event naturally comes with bouncy character costumes of both Kanto and Alola forms of Sandshrew

“This isn’t AR… It’s real life.”

Tottori’s governor Shinji Hirai announced the event on December 6 with a healthy dose of Pokémon puns, announcing “Nido, sando oide kudasai!“. While this translates literally as “visit us two or even three times!” it also incoporates Sandshrew’s Japanese name, imploring the character to “Come back again, Sando!” (And yes, Sando is also the Japanese loan word for sandwich.)

▼ Adorable photograph stands made to look like sand sculptures of both forms

▼ This decorative sign beckons guest to take part in the “Visit Sandshrew Festival”

With two new movies on the horizon for 2019, Tottori will be ushering in the new year with plenty of Pokémon cheer. And once the promotional period ends on the 14th, you won’t have time to be sad – gacha machines for kitten headgear lie just around the corner, sadly devoid of Sandshrew as they may be.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Otakomu
Featured image: Instagram/e.river.g