ISHINOMAKI, Japan (CNN) -- Santa Claus bearing Christmas presents for children arrived by helicopter in last year's disaster-hit Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture.
Santa's helicopter landed on an elementary schoolyard in the northern city on Thursday. About 30 kindergarteners and students ran up to welcome him.
A volunteer group from western Japan organized the visit to cheer up children in areas struck by last year's disaster.
Santa told the children in Japanese he had flown from the North Pole. Some children asked why there were no reindeers. Santa said he flies helicopters during the daytime because reindeers rest after working hard at night.
Santa pulled stuffed bears from his big white bag and gave them to the smiling children one by one.