Visitors to the site of the Pikachu Outbreak get a special hello from the Pokémon star himself!

Every summer the city of Yokohama, about 20 minutes south of Tokyo by train, welcomes packs of Pikachus for the annual Pikachu Outbreak, in which the famous Pokémon overrun part of the city for parades, dancing, and so, so many fluffy hugs. But this year, Pikachu is returning the favor by welcoming visitors to Yokohama.

The Pikachu Outbreak festivities take place in Yokohama’s bayside Minato Mirai district, which is serviced by the Minato Mirai subway line, which has a Minato Mirai Station. Like just about every modern rail stop in Japan, Minato Mirai Station has automated ticket gates that make a chime as they scan your ticket or pass card, but as of August 1, you’ll notice that some of the gates have Pikachu tracks leading to them!

Follow in Pikachu’s footsteps, and, as shown in this video from Twitter user @ryuki100, instead of a boring old “ding,” what you’ll hear is…

a friendly “Pikachu!”, as Pikachu proudly becomes the first person/Pokémon to welcome you to Yokohama.

Well, technically there’s a chance you might not hear “Pikachu!”, since the Pikachu ticket gates actually have three different greetings, with the others being “Pika pika!” and just “Pika!” Regardless, though, you’ll hear the unmistakable voice of the anime/video game star.

▼ You can hear the other greeting in this video.

There are also two special Pikachu versions of the Minato Mirai unlimited-use one-day pass now on sale (460 yen [US$4.25] for adults, 230 yen for kids). They can be purchased at Minato Mirai Line stations between now and August 31, and can be activated on any single day up to and including January 31, 2020.

The Pikachu Outbreak is scheduled for August 6 to August 12, which coincides with some of the hottest weather in Japan’s summer, so make sure to drink plenty of fluids, and maybe grab a Pikachu popsicle or Baskin-Robbins Pokémon ice cream cake to cool off with.

Sources: Twitter/@ryuki100, Hamakore Yokohama (1, 2), Minna no Poké GO
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