Every Pokémon Generation’s Region & Their Real World Influences

While Pokémon was originally rooted in Japan, the franchise has since explored the entirety of Japan and moved to other real-world inspirations.

Ahead of the impending release of the ninth generation of Pokémon games at the end of 2022, Pokémon fans have been excitedly scrambling to find any information that they can from the limited trailer released for Scarlet & Violet. There are visible clues as to what sort of place the new region might be and what real-world locations it may well draw inspiration from.

Gen IX is not the first generation to draw real-world inspirations when making its region, with all of the previous regions showcasing parts and specific aspects of different places and cultures. While the original idea for Pokémon was rooted in Japan, the franchise has since explored the entirety of Japan and moved elsewhere.

9Generation I: Kanto Is Based On Its Real-World Namesake

The Kanto region of Pokémon’s first generation is the easiest to deduce and compare to its real-world influences, as it bears many resemblances to the real-world Japanese region of the same name. The Kanto region of the real world is an area within the largest island of Japan called Honshu, covering seven prefectures of Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Tochigi, Gunma, and Ibaraki.

The western side of the Kanto map however is believed to represent parts of the Chubu region of Japan, with Pallet Town allegedly resembling the creator of Pokémon Satoshi Tajiri’s hometown of Machida.

8Generation II: Johto Brings The Culture & History Of The Kansai Region

The Gen II Pokémon games feature both Johto and the original region of Kanto and situate them in a similar manner to their real-world equivalents. Johto’s inspiration is the Kansai region which, like in the games, is to the west of Kanto. The Kansai region includes the likes of Osaka, Kyoto, and Wakayama, among others.

Johto’s real-world influences make a lot of sense, too, with Mt. Silver being considered as colossal and towering as Mount Fuji, Goldenrod City being as lively as Osaka, and Ecruteak having the culture and history of Kyoto.

7Generation III: Hoenn Keeps It In Japan With The Southernmost Region Of Kyushu

Hoenn stays in Japan for its inspirations and influences, resembling the southernmost regions of the country, Kyushu. The Hoenn region brings deserts and hot springs to the franchise for the first time, resembling various parts of the third-largest island of Japan.

Mt. Chimney is very similar to the island’s Mount Aso, known as the largest active volcano in Japan, with Mt. Chimney also being considered a volatile location within the games. The home of the Hoenn Pokémon League, Ever Grande City, resembles Okinawa Island, with the main building even looking like Shuri Castle.

6Generation IV: Hokkaido Is The Main Influence Behind The Sinnoh Region

As the last of the generations of Pokémon to base their region on Japan, Sinnoh is said to be based on the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido, as well as parts of Russian territory, Sakhalin and Kunashir Island.

Kunashir appears to be the main influence behind Sinnoh’s Victory Road, while the Battle Zone is based on Sakhalin. As for the mainland of Sinnoh, Mount Coronet is able to draw inspiration from the Ezo Mountain Chain, consisting of several different mountains, while the largest city of Hokkaido, Sapporo, appears to bear a resemblance to Jubilife City, its busy equivalent in the game.

5Generation V: The United States Of America Is The Driving Force Behind Unova

Unova is the first region in the Pokémon franchise to move away from Japan in terms of its regional influences. Unova is instead believed to be based on the United States of America, specifically New York and New Jersey.

From the Skyarrow Bridge bearing a strong resemblance to the Brooklyn Bridge, to Castelia City representing Lower Manhattan as the business center of New York City, there are plenty of American comparisons to show a clear deviation away from the franchise’s Japanese roots.

4Generation VI: European Influences Are Introduced To The Franchise With The France-Like Kalos

While Gen V and Unova took the franchise to the United States of America, Gen VI and Kalos brought Pokémon to Europe with strong French influences all over. Lumiose City is viewed as the capital-of-sorts for Kalos, thus drawing strong comparisons with Paris, from Prism Tower and the Eiffel Tower, to the Lumiose Museum and the Louvre, with even the Pokémon League looking like the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Other places take aspects of additional French towns and cities, from Lille and Strasbourg to places within Brittany and Normandy. Still, the Kalos region also has locations that take inspiration from the English Channel and Alderney of the Channel Islands, in Azure Bay and Sea Spirit’s Den respectively.

3Generation VII: Alola Goes Back To The States With Heavy Hawaii Influences

After the brief journey to Europe, Alola and Gen VII take the Pokémon franchise back to America, but this time focusing on Hawaii, with all of its sun, sea, and cultural aspects. As Alola is split into four main islands, each island draws inspiration from different islands from the real world Hawaii Islands. Melemele Island is based on O’ahu, Akala on Maui, Ula’ula on Hawaii Island, and Poni Island on Kaua’i.

Not only do the Gen VII games deviate away from the normality of earning eight Gym Badges before tackling the Elite Four and the Champion, but the region also feels like the first since the Japanese-inspired regions to properly capture the essence of a culture and translate it perfectly into the Pokémon world.

2Generation VIII: Pokémon Comes To The UK With The Galar Region

Galar is the setting for Gen VIII and does not shy away from its obvious influences coming from the United Kingdom. The main bulk of Galar is based on England and Wales, while the areas introduced in the Crown Tundra and Isle of Armor DLC are based on Scotland and the Isle of Man, respectively.

Not only do many of the UK’s biggest cities offer their influence to Galar’s towns and cities, but the introduction of the Wild Area as a concept to the franchise pays homage to the UK’s many national parks, of which the Lake District and Peak District are among the largest.

1Generation IX: The Next Region Appears To Have Iberian Influences

From the limited information released so far regarding the region for the impending Gen IX games Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, it appears to be heavily influenced by the Iberian Peninsula. The Iberian Peninsula covers the European countries of Spain, Portugal, and small parts of southern France, Andorra, and Gibraltar.

The Pokémon franchise appears to be enjoying its exploration of European countries and locations in recent generations, especially those that can offer ideas for locations of all terrains. Fans can expect another vibrant region to explore, with the prospect of an entirely open-world experience making the looming release all the more exciting.

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