Pokemon Named Ambassador of Japanese Prefecture

A Pokemon species has assumed the prestigious position of ambassador of a Japanese prefecture.

Yesterday, the Pokemon Company and the Tottori Prefecture announced that Sandshrew and its Alolan variant were the new ambassadors of the popular region. Sandshrew was likely chosen as Tottori is home of the famous Tottori Sand Dunes, a national landmark that has existed for over 100,000 years. You can see the two Pokemon assume their official duties below:

This isn't the first time that a Japanese prefecture has named a Pokemon as an ambassador. Pikachu was named the ambassador to Osaka last year, and Udon Prefecture appointed Slowpoke as its governor this year for an April Fool's gag.

Sandshrew's appointment coincides with a month-long Sandshrew Festival, in which Sandshrew will appear at local businesses and at scheduled meet and greets.

To celebrate Sandshrew's appointment as the international representative for the region, Tottori and the Pokemon Company announced several new events for tourists, including a "Stamp Rally" in which people collect stamps at various sightseeing spots around the prefecture for the chance to win a Sandshrew statue made of Tottori sand, and a haiku and photo contest involving Pokemon Go's AR mode. A local coffee chain, Sunaba Coffee, is also changing its name to Sandshrew Coffee during the month-long festival.

Sandshrew fans can also purchase limited edition goods including Sandshrew photo stands (also made of sand) and special snacks inspired by Sandshrew and the Tottori sand dunes.

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To help celebrate, Niantic has also announced a special Pokemon Go promotion in which Sandshrew and its Alolan forms will spawn at increased rates in Tottori until January 14th. In addition, players also have a chance of finding a Shiny Sandshrew in Tottori. So far, the Shiny Sandshrew has not been released outside of Tottori, but that will likely change after the event is over.

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