In the summer of 1997, the Japan Railways Group (known simply as JR) launched its first of many partner events with the Pokemon TCG, the JR East Stamp Rally. This event issued 2 of the earliest Pokemon promo cards.
Based around 30 stations on Tokyo’s Yamanote line, participants were invited to collect stamps at each station. Tickets were sold in advance in 2-day blocks from July 27 to August 8, 1997. All 100,000 preorder tickets were sold out for the actual event, which ran from August 9 – 17, 1997.
Within a 2-day time span, participants to visit each of the 30 stations. and fill out their stamp book. Each station had a different Pokemon stamp.
Two prizes were available for attendees. The first was at 10 stamps, and was a plastic trainer certificate card.
Participants who managed to visit all 30 stations and complete their stamp books were given another booklet containing 2 promo cards: a Surfing Pikachu and a Mew.
The two cards were both reprints of previous promos that were issued in CoroCoro magazine. However, the ones distributed in this booklet were both matte texture instead of glossy. In addition, the Surfing Pikachu promo also featured Mt. Fuji and a Japan Rail train in the artwork.