Gentle giant Pokémon is helping prefecture damaged in Tohoku earthquake and tsunami recover.

The aquatic Pokémon Lapras is kindhearted and helpful, happily letting travelers ride on its back. So it’s fitting that when Japan’s northeastern Miyagi Prefecture was choosing a new tourism ambassador, it settled on the beloved blue Pocket Monster.

Lapras was officially introduced as Miyagi’s newest travel spokescreature in a press conference this week, when it appeared onstage with Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai. After bathing in applause from the ceremony’s attendees, Lapras good-naturedly posed for photos with fans, accompanied by standing Miyagi tourism character/samurai rice ball Musubimaru, as seen in the video above.

The presentation also showed off a new fleet of Lapras-shaped Pokémon pedal boats, which will be available for rent at Miyagi’s Michinoku Park lake starting July 21, and also at the Hanayama Aoshonen Ryokomura camping and outdoor activity area from August 3.

In addition, inflatable Lapras swim toys will be available at 16 public pool facilities throughout Miyagi, including at the Akiuo Onsen hot spring resort area. The Pokémon partnership’s organizers are promising even more to come, though, as all this summertime fun is a just an advance preview, with Lapras’ official tourism ambassador status not scheduled to start until October.

This isn’t Lapras’ first tie-up with Miyagi, as the character was also the star of a special collaboration with Pokémon GO which helped boost tourism to the prefecture in 2016, part of the ongoing efforts to hasten the recovery of local communities following extensive damage in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated coastal areas of Japan’s Tohoku region, and the choice of character makes sense when you consider that Lapras has a touching comeback story of its own too.

Source: YouTube/仙台放送ニュースチャンネル
Featured image: Twitter/@poke_times
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he says “chasing Pokémon” is an entirely valid reason to travel.