All About Japan

'Pokémon GO' to Tohoku to Catch Rare Pokémon

Gaming Pokémon

Until November 23, 2016 Pokémon GO developer Niantic is increasing the encounter rate for the hard-to-find Lapras in coastal communities of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures as part of a revitalization plan. These three prefectures suffered the worst damage in the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March of 2011.

It’s hoped that increasing the Lapras encounter rate will draw travelers to the region. And since travelers need places to eat and sleep, this will, in turn, give a boost to the local towns and economies that are still in the painful process of recovering from the disasters. Presented with an opportunity to do a good deed and bolster our Pokémon stable at the same time, RocketNews24 headed north to the Miyagi port town of Ishinomaki, where five years ago thousands of residents lost their lives in the tsunami.

Sure enough, right outside Ishinomaki Station we spotted clusters of Pokémon trainers.

We fired up Pokémon GO on our phone, and before long, a Lapras appeared on the map!

It’s extremely tough to track down a Lapras in Tokyo, so we silently congratulated ourselves as we captured the Pocket Monster. But the night was still young, so we continued our Pokémon hunt, falling in step with the crowds of other players who were strolling about the streets.

Two hours later, we’d caught four more Lapras plus an Abra, a Cubone, a Drowzee, male and female Nidorans, a Clefairy, a Jigglypuff, a Machop, a Shellder, a Vulpix, a Squirtle and an Eevee.

And it wasn’t just the streets that were full of people, but the hotels as well. Above is one of the many hotels that was booked solid during our trip to Ishinomaki.

While video games’ primary purpose is to provide entertainment, it’s nice to see that with some clever thinking, they can also provide hope for a recovering community.

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