In fact, Tottori’s governor officially encourages you to venture into the sand to catch ’em all.
At a press conference on July 25th, Tottori Prefectural Governor Shinji Hirai announced that Tottori’s iconic sand dunes were thereby designated a “Pokémon Go Sunaho Game Liberated Zone” (Sunaho is a pun on suna [sand] and sumaho, the Japanese abbreviation for “smartphone”). This official announcement is part of a campaign to draw more tourists to the dunes, where they can play in the sand without fear of becoming distracted and accidentally walking into traffic or other dangerous situations like in the city. As Hirai noted in his speech, “The Tottori sand dunes are vast and you can safely enjoy the game there. We’d be thrilled if you chose Tottori as your summer vacation destination.”
▼ Hirai even snapped a picture with a wild Paras he found in the dunes.
ポケモンGOの人気を観光客誘致につなげようと、平井伸治知事は鳥取砂丘を「スナホ・ゲーム解放区」とすることを宣言。「鳥取砂丘は広大で安全にゲームを楽しめる。夏休みの旅の目的地としてもらいたい」と述べた。 ※逆転の発想。さすが名知事 https://t.co/dIhj3VecmT—
無外流の狼 (@miburou3) July 25, 2016
Despite the lack of any potential urban dangers, Hirai does stress three golden rules for anyone playing Pokémon Go in the sand dunes:
1. Be careful of heat stroke and of injuring yourself
2. Do not disturb others or any natural life you find in the dunes
3. Make sure to enjoy not only the game, but the natural scenery, too!
Interestingly, Japanese net users’ reactions to the announcement tended to be on the cynical side, citing the lack of shade in the dunes and no particular draws that the game play offers in Tottori:
“I’d only care if there are some hard-to-get Pokémon there.”
“They should provide us with free wi-fi and charging stations.”
“Welcome to the scorching sand dunes.”
“Are there many Pokéstops in the dunes?”
Thanks to an Ingress user, we actually have an answer to that last question:
▼ Why yes, there are actually tons of them!
縄文ぞんび (@JoumonZombie) July 25, 2016
So if you can take the heat, why not hit the sandy slopes this summer and complete your Pokédex at the same time!