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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogPokémon Regions: Five Real-Life Locations!

Pokémon Regions: Five Real-Life Locations!

By Sophia Wasylinko
April 27, 2024
A Pokeball in one of many Pokemon regions.

Pokémon regions are creative and fun, pulling players, viewers, and readers into a different world. But did you know that some places that Ash Ketchum and Pikachu explore are based on real-world settings? Let’s look at five real-life locations that inspired Pokémon regions!

(Note: We’re focusing on locations in the anime, including places exclusive to the shows. Settings that only appear in the Pokémon games or manga will be left out.)

Kanto and Johto (Kanto and Kansai Regions, Japan)  

Let’s start with the Kanto and Johto Regions. Kanto appears in Pokémon Season 1; its most prominent cities are Saffron City and Cerulean City. Johto first appears in Season 3, and its main cities are Goldenrod City and Ecruteak City.

Pallet Town in the Kanto Region.
The Kanto region is where it all started. Image via Bulbapedia

Kanto has many iconic landmarks like the Viridian Forest and Pokémon Tower. Johto’s landmarks include Sprout Tower and the Lake of Rage. Kanto and Johto also share the Indigo Plateau, where competitions take place.

As you might guess, Pokémon’s Kanto Region is inspired by Japan’s Kanto Prefecture, where Tokyo is located. Additionally, Pokémon Tower is based on the Ushiku Daibutsu and Viridian Forest in the Okuchichibu Mountains. Johto is inspired by the Kansai Region, where Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara are located. 

Unova (New York Metropolitan Area, United States) 

Pokémon: Black and White series fans will recognize Unova from Ash, Cilan, and Iris’ adventures in Seasons 14-16. It also appears in Journeys: The Series (based on Sword and Shield). 

A scene from New Tork City in the Pokemon video game.
The area heavily resembles Times Square! Image via Reddit

In addition to places like New Tork City and Castelia City, Unova is famous for labs and test sites, including P2 Laboratory and Area 28. You can also watch tournaments at Eindoak Town and look for rare species at Absentia Natural Park.

Do you know what Unova is based on? We’ll give you a hint: New Tork City sounds like New York City! Unova’s settings, like N’s Castle and Musical Theater, are based on landmarks from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Locations also inspire places in New Jersey and Long Island.

Kalos (Northern France and the Channel Islands) 

After traveling through Unova, Ash, Pikachu, and new friends Clemont, Bonnie, and Serena go to Kalos in Pokémon: XY (Seasons 17-19), where the Kalos Quest and Pokémon Showcases take place. 

A tower in Lumiose City in the Kalos region.
This scene is inspired by the Eiffel Tower. Image via Twitter/X

A lot happens at Lumiose City: battles at Lumiose Gym, crime and mischief at Lumiose Museum, strange happenings at Kalos Power Plant, and a fiery siege by Team Flare and Zygarde. Other intriguing locations include the Town of Mastery and Reflection Cave.

Many of Kalos’ locations are inspired by northern Metropolitan France. Lumiose City is based on Île-de-France, and Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower appears as Prism Tower. There are also landmarks inspired by Alderney, one of the Channel Islands in the United Kingdom, including Azure Bay (in the video games).

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Alola (The Hawaiian Islands, United States) 

For a tropical twist, let’s go to Pokémon school with Ash and friends in the Alola Region! Sun and Moon (Seasons 20-22) and parts of Pokémon Journeys are set in this beautiful place. 

A map of the Alola Region.
Instead of Gyms, the Alola Region has Island Challenges. Image via IGN

Hau’Oli City and Seafolk Village have many trendy tourist spots. Scientists can conduct research at Aether Paradise and Hokulani Observatory. Nature lovers can’t miss Poni Beach or the Mahalo Trail!

Pokémon’s Melemele, Akala, Ula’ula, and Poni Islands are based on the real-world islands of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, and Kau’i. Aether Paradise is inspired by Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and the Mahalo Trail by ‘Aiea Loop Trail.

Paldea (The Iberian Peninsula) 

Gamers will recognize Paldea from Scarlet and Violet. Anime fans will have seen it in Pokémon Horizons: The Series, Paldean Winds, and Team Rocket Expedition, which stands for the evils of truth and love.

A house in the Paldea Region.
The architecture in Paldea is inspired by Spain and Portugal. Image via The Loadout

Paldea is divided into four distinct provinces. Mesagoza is the largest city and home to Naranja Academy (Scarlet, appearing in the anime), also called Uva Academy (Violet). Paldea’s most famous landmark is the Great Crater of Paldea, also home to Area Zero. 

Paldea is based on countries in the Iberian Peninsula, specifically Spain, Andorra, and Portugal. Naranja/Uva Academy is based on several buildings, including Sagrada Familia Church and Biblioteca Joanina. The setting inspires Mesagoza’s locations in several cities, such as Barcelona and Zaragoza. 

What makes these Pokémon regions so unique? 

Perfect climates

Alola’s balmy beaches are different from Johto’s misty bamboo groves. The flora and fauna vary between Paldea’s four provinces. You won’t find the same bird or flower in these locations!

Amazing architecture 

Buildings in New Tork City and Saffron City are modern and high-tech. Meanwhile, the buildings in Ecruteak City and Mesagoza are ancient and traditional. Some cities have a mixture of both, showing the progression from the past to the present.

Different vibes

Ash and company are on the go in Kanto and Unova, but they’re ready to relax in Alola and Johto. They’re mesmerized by the history in Kalos and Paldea. Adventure is bound to happen wherever they go! Which of these Pokémon regions is your favorite? Have you been to any of their real-life locations? Tell us in the comments.

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Sophia Wasylinko

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