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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogSandshrew and More: Pokemon Mascots Across Japan!

Sandshrew and More: Pokemon Mascots Across Japan!

By James Lau
November 01, 2023
An illustration of the Pokemon Sandshrew, who resembles a yellow pangolin.

Pokémon are coming out of their games and into real-life adventures as ambassadors across Japan! These Pokemon Local Acts show the hidden charms of their prefecture! From Sandshrew in Tottori to Dragonite in Fukui, these partnerships bring adventure to locals and tourists, revealing the magic in their areas. So, explore Japan’s hidden gems with Pokémon, your new adventure companions!

What are “Pokemon Local Acts?”

An advertisement for the Pokemon Local Acts campaign.
Pokemon Local Acts help with tourism across Japan! Image via Nintendo Soup

Pokemon Local Acts are all about showing Japan’s amazing places and their unique charms. Each prefecture selects an Ambassadorial Pokemon that represents its unique features. These Pokemon pop up all over their respective areas, from buses to parks, and even on local merchandise, boosting tourism, particularly in more hidden locations. Think of them as friendly guides who show the hidden secrets of their homeland! Here are six Pokemon Local Acts you should discover!

Sandshrew x Tottori Prefecture

Sandshrew is a Ground-type Pokémon, famous for making its home in deserts and being a skilled digger. It curls up into a ball for defense and rarely comes out from underground. On the other hand, Alolan Sandshrew is an Ice-Steel type Pokemon that has adapted to the icy mountains. Its body has become heavier thanks to its shell and claws, allowing it to move without slipping on ice! Sandshrew was one of the first Pokemon that Ash battled when he began his journey to become a Pokemon Master.

People in Sandshrew and Alolan Sandshrew suits next to two men in the Tottori Sand Dunes.
Sandshrew is perfect for sandy Tottori Prefecture! Image via RPP

In December 2018, Sandshrew and Alolan Sandshrew became Tottori’s Hometown Ambassadors, appearing at iconic locations and on local snacks. Tottori is a wonderland known for the famous Tottori Sand Dunes, attracting nature enthusiasts with its stunning landscapes. These sandy terrains are a perfect home for Sandshrew. The region also offers a taste of traditional Japan, with historic temples and hot springs! In appreciation of the two Pokémon, Tottori has named March 10th as Sandshrew Day!

Dragonite x Fukui Prefecture

Dragonite, a Dragon-Flying-type Pokémon, is one of the strongest but kindest Pokemon. It’s known as a guardian of the seas and skies, often appearing to rescue sailors and people in distress. Dragonite’s kind nature and the ability to fly at incredible speeds make it a great friend for epic adventures. A Dragonite was recently seen on Ash’s Championship Winning team, helping him become the World Champion!

A person in a Dragonite suit in city hall at Fukui Prefecture.
Dragonite is in Fukui because they have a lot of dinosaur fossils! Image via Bulbagarden

Fukui Prefecture mixes beauty and culture, with Eiheiji Temple as a critical landmark known for its Zen Buddhist heritage. The region has deep green forests, rocky cliffs at Tojinbo, and Echizen crabs as local delicacies.

Dragonite became the newest Support Pokémon on October 23, 2023, representing the prefecture’s fame for dinosaur fossils and its large dinosaur museum. The Kuzuryu River in Fukui is also full of dragon-themed location names, making Dragonite the ideal choice to represent this region!

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Chansey x Fukushima Prefecture

Chansey, the lovable and caring Normal-type Pokémon, exhibits endless kindness and a desire to help others. It frequently carries a Lucky Egg, symbolizing its caring nature. With its ability to heal those in need, Chansey is beloved in the Pokémon world, especially in hospitals where its soft, egg-like pouch comforts patients. In the games and anime, Chansey often appears in Pokemon Centers, assisting Nurse Joy in her duties.

A large Chansey statue in a playground in Fukushima Prefecture.
Chansey is a lucky Pokemon, which is perfect for Fukushima! Image via Fukushima Travel

Fukushima Prefecture is a place of natural beauty and strength. It’s famous for its breathtaking landscapes, such as Inawashiro Lake. Additionally, the area gained recognition due to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, where the people of Fukushima displayed resilience in the rebuilding efforts.

Chansey, with its Japanese name “Rakki,” which means “luck,” became Fukushima’s Support Pokémon, symbolizing the prefecture’s spirit. You can also find Chansey at special events, where it shares its good fortune. Children can also explore Chansey Park, where a giant Chansey welcomes them!

Slowpoke x Kagawa Prefecture

Slowpoke, a Water/Psychic-type Pokémon, earns recognition for its carefree nature. This gentle creature frequently rests near the water, lazily hunting for food with its tail dangling in the river. In the games, Slowpoke prominently appeared in the second generation, Pokémon Silver, Gold, and Crystal, and their remakes in the area were recognized as the Slowpoke Well.

A person in a Slowpoke suit next to a Pokemon mailbox in Kagawa Prefecture.
Slowpoke is a riot in Kagawa Prefecture! Image via Otaquest

Kagawa Prefecture, often called “Udon Prefecture,” has both beauty and culture. It’s famous for its mastery of udon noodle making, while the iconic Ritsurin Garden, known for its stunning landscapes, represents natural beauty and rich culture.

In 2015, Slowpoke became Kagawa’s Ambassador Pokémon because its Japanese name, “Yadon”, resembles udon. Slowpoke’s influence spreads across the prefecture, with parks and specialty udon restaurants offering Slowpoke-themed toppings!

Lapras x Miyagi Prefecture

Lapras, a Water/Ice-type Pokémon, is known for its gentle and caring nature. Often seen gracefully gliding through the sea, it is said to be a guardian of the ocean and a friend to sailors. Lapras’s songs have a calming effect on those who hear them.

This friendly creature symbolizes peace and safety, making it a great companion on water adventures. In the anime, Ash (Satoshi) befriends a young Lapras and uses them as transportation on the water while taking on the Orange League.

Two man standing next to someone in a Lapras suit in Miyagi Prefecture.
Lapras goes all over the Miyagi coast! Image via Travel Japan

Miyagi Prefecture blends natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. Its beautiful landscapes, like Matsushima Bay, and its celebrations with delicious food like beef tongue and zunda mochi create a unique charm.

Despite facing challenges like the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Miyagi residents have shown incredible strength. In 2019, Lapras became the prefecture’s support Pokémon! Kids can have snowy fun on Lapras-shaped toboggans while groups can enjoy Lapras-shaped pedal boats on the water!

Exeggutor x Miyazaki Prefecture

Exeggutor is a Grass-Psychic Pokémon famous for its tall palm tree appearance, also known as the “Walking Jungle.” In the Alola region, Alolan Exeggutor is even taller, with a long neck and three heads, making it look quite funny.

As a Grass/Dragon Pokémon, it is more potent in Alola’s tropical climate, soaking up the sun’s energy. You can find both Exeggutors in the anime when Goh’s Exeggcute evolves into an Exeggutor, and an Alolan Exeggutor appears when Goh travels to Alola.

Flight attendants next to two people in Exeggutor suits near a plane in Miyaki Prefecture.
Exeggutor made its home in tropical Miyazaki Prefecture! Image via Hypebeast

Miyazaki Prefecture is a paradise famous for its stunning landscapes, lush forests, and sunny beaches, which make Alolan Exeggutor feel right at home. The warm climate perfectly complements its tropical vibes and the delicious Miyazaki beef.

In 2020, Exeggutor became the Support Pokémon for Miyazaki since it looks like Miyazaki’s official tree, the Phoenix Palm Tree. You also can spot Exeggutor on local foods, from curry to snacks, and even on specially designed Solaseed Airplanes that fly you into the region!

Overall, these Pokemon have stepped out of the games and anime to become ambassadors for various Japanese prefectures. From Fukui, guarded by Dragonite, to Tottori’s sandy paradise for Sandshrew and Lapras traveling the waters of Miyagi, each Pokémon reflects its region’s unique charm!

Fukushima finds luck with Chansey, Kagawa takes it slow with Slowpoke, and Miyazaki enjoys the sunshine with Exeggutor! These Pokémon represent their prefectures’ hidden charms, encouraging us to explore further! Have you ever visited any of these prefectures? Have you seen these support Pokémon at work? Let us know in the comments below!

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