Pokémon being used as a tool for local tourism in Japan is nothing new. The Pokémon manhole cover campaign is a major part of this, and it’s even seen various Pokémon become regional mascots! For the Autumn and Winter local tourism season, Miyagi, itself home to a whopping 15 Pokémon manhole covers with 20 more coming in December, is hoping to use the cuteness of Lapras to entice people to sample local cuisine and visit the festivals and attractions that define the area in the eyes of the locals who live there.
Utilizing the character for promotional videos and merchandise, while offering special Lapras-themed events at certain locations, the hope is that the Pokémon will be exactly what is needed to encourage people from around Japan to prop up the struggling tourism sector following the fallout of COVID-19. As a prefecture situated on the coast whose economy is partially driven by fishing as well as livestock, having a water Pokémon be the centerpiece of the campaign is fitting.
The hope for this campaign is that you’ll visit places like the Shiogama Shrine or the Hekigyoku Gorge, or one of the festivals in the region, but if not, maybe the Lapras-themed events can tempt you. Running from November 1st until March 1st, collecting stamps from the various special locations in Miyagi Prefecture could allow visitors to win free postcards and be in the running to win a range of Miyagi Prefecture and Lapras-themed prizes. If that wasn’t enough, various Lapras-themed goods will be sold exclusively in the region from hooded towels to reusable drinks bottles and more. Finally, if you choose to go snow tubing in the region on one of the mini ski slopes, you can do so on a special Lapras snow tube!
All in all, Miyagi is a nice prefecture worth visiting regardless of your love of Lapras or Pokémon. However, if you are a fan, this could be the excuse you need, and if it is that excuse, you can find more over on the campaign’s official website.