Pokélovers can have fun taking in the local sights AND entering a lottery to win some local delicacies.

Since they were originally introduced in 2018, Pokéfuta, or Pokémon manhole covers, have been making a big splash within various Japanese cities. Each cover features a custom design which highlights a famous local spot or cultural artifact–definitely appealing to the “gotta see ’em all!” mentality that many of us travel enthusiasts were raised with.

We had actually previously visited Tottori Prefecture to check out its Pokéfuta, all of which feature prefectural ambassador Sandshrew in both its regular and Alola forms in some way.

To top it off, Tottori Prefecture installed specially manufactured stamp stands last fall near each individual Pokéfuta. Each stamp is unique to the specific cover they’re next to.

You’ll also find free “Toripass” sightseeing brochures next to each stamp stand. When you open one…

…you’ll see a delightful spread for you to collect your stamps from all over Tottori Prefecture!

The brochure features images of all 19 of Tottori’s Pokéfuta–one to represent each municipality within the prefecture–and a spot for its corresponding stamp. As you can see, the actual Pokéfuta are scattered all over the prefecture, including in some hard-to-reach areas. We estimate that it would take a whole day without stopping anywhere else to drive around and hit all of them, and probably three days to do it using nothing but public transportation.

The brochure also includes full-color photos and descriptions of the places reflected in the Pokéfuta. In and of itself, it’s a great traveling keepsake.

By the way, Tottori Prefecture often holds festivals dedicated to Sandshrew and has even designated the third Saturday of every month as Sandshrew Day (it’s a pun on Sandshrew’s Japanese name, Sando, and how that can be written in kanji as 三土–meaning “three” and “Saturday”). Events are currently halted due to the pandemic, but Sandshrew would normally appear at sightseeing spots around the prefecture and take photos with visitors on these days.

In addition, this little piece of trivia hasn’t been advertised very much, but last month Tottori City installed a new Pokémon vending machine inside the International Tourism Souvenir Center which dispenses Pokémon Center-exclusive goods. There are only seven of these machines throughout Japan, so it’s a bit of a curious choice to put one in Japan’s least populated Japanese prefecture–but maybe that’s part of the draw to increase tourism.

▼ Tottori’s own Pokémon vending machine

OK, back to the stamps. Besides collecting them for yourself, there’s one more spot within the Toripass that you should be aware of if you’d like to take part in the ongoing stamp rally.

You only need to collect two of the 19 stamps within the prefecture and then cut them out, stick them on a postcard, and mail it in to be entered into a drawing for some fabulous prizes.

And what might those prizes be, you ask? There are four gastronomic options to choose from, including the locally famous Matsuba Crab–a 15,000 yen (US$137) value! 10 lucky winners will be chosen to win one of these guys.

If you’re not feeling like getting Krabby (another Pokémon), there are three other choices featuring local delicacies–one from the sea and two from the mountains–so don’t despair.

One other tip for adventurers: All of the stamp stands near the Pokéfuta are located indoors within tourism-related spaces, roadside stops, and so on, so make sure you plan any excursions to collect your stamps within normal business hours in order to access the buildings.

The current spring-summer Toripass is being distributed between April 1-September 30, and after that a new fall-winter one will be released. The Pokéfuta stamps will continue to be available, so feel free to take your time in getting there–maybe even celebrate a belated Slowpoke Day on the way!

Reference: Sandshrew x Tottori Prefecture
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