We’ve Prepared a Pokémon Journey for You to Become the Best Trainer in Japan

A ten-day adventure across Japan in the footsteps of Red and Ash!

Dear geek and otaku friends, have you ever dreamt of visiting Japan? We had the privilege of making this journey to the other side of the globe just a few weeks ago.

Our mission? To offer you a two-week travel diary in Japan, with ten days in the Kanto region, an optimized and non-exhaustive journey in the footsteps of the most profitable franchise of all time.

If you ever plan to go to Japan alone or with friends, consider this article as a Pokémon Trainer’s Guide for the region, It will provide you with the keys to embark on a 100% Pokémon trip, whether it’s discovering the best spots dedicated to Pikachu and its companions or visiting certain real-life locations in Japan that inspired the fictional region of Kanto.

Day 0 : Narita (Lavender Town)

In Chiba Prefecture. For those of you expecting to begin your adventure in Pallet Town like everyone else, think again, because you’re in Lavender Town, the ghostly town of Pokémon. Of course, if you want to start your journey on a cheerful note, you can visit the Pokémon Store at the airport right away.

Like the Lavender Town in Pokémon, Narita is a city of remembrance and commemoration, in addition to being close to nature and full of picturesque streets. The connection to memory is through the Bosso-Nomura Museum. This museum takes the form of an entire district in the colors of the Edo period. It’s your opportunity to immerse yourself in traditional Japanese life right from the start. This museum houses many treasures discovered through archaeological excavations.

The famous Pokémon Tower, on the other hand, is inspired by the Shinshoji Temple, the most popular landmark in Narita. The area surrounding the temple houses more than a thousand grave markers, similar to those found in Lavender Town’s giant tower.

Narita Lavender Town
Narita Lavender Town

Day 1: Akihabara

The Akihabara district in Tokyo will be your main headquarters for this journey. Indeed, staying in a hotel in the vicinity is the best thing to do since many strategic transportation lines pass through this point. Not only is it one of the best-connected districts in the Japanese capital, but it is also known as the epicenter of Japanese pop culture. It’s an ideal geek neighborhood for anime and gaming fans: arcades, anime-themed cafes, retro video game stores, and all sorts of gashapons (Japanese toy capsules). However, please note that this district, despite being the most famous and one of the liveliest in Tokyo, is also one of the most expensive due to the high number of tourists it attracts.

Day 2: Shinjuku (Celadon City)

The rainbow city of Pokémon draws its inspiration from the Shinjuku district, the most colorful of Tokyo’s wards. Just like Celadon City, you can recognize Shinjuku by its skyline, with towering metal skyscrapers that are each more imposing than the last.

A sprawling city naturally means a million things to do: plenty of shops, hotels, and restaurants to find everything you need, as well as a multitude of neon signs and arcade machines. Just like Celadon City’s shopping center in the games, some of the largest shopping centers in the district open their rooftops to the public. It’s an opportunity to enjoy a beer while taking in a magnificent view.

Faced with all this vastness, you might be wondering where the city’s champion draws her preference for Grass-type Pokémon. The answer lies in the Shinjuku Gyoen Imperial Garden, located between Shinjuku and Sendagaya stations: a gigantic green space spanning 58 hectares right in the heart of the city. There, you can also find a tea house and a greenhouse filled with subtropical plants.

And then, of course, there are the pachinko parlors. You can find them in Kabukicho, Tokyo’s red-light district and a famous nightlife hub known for its hostess bars, strip clubs, and love hotels. However, be warned: the game parlors are mostly run by yakuza, an obvious connection to Celadon City’s casino known for harboring a Team Rocket hideout.

Shinjuku Celadon City
Shinjuku Celadon City

Day 3: Marunouchi (Saffron City)

Today, Marunouchi is the business center in Japan, housing the most powerful companies in the country. Now you understand why Silph Co., the mega-corporation central to the fictional Kanto region that provides all the in-game shops, Poké Balls, and TMs that are so essential to us, has set up its headquarters in Saffron City. In fact, it is directly inspired by the Mitsubishi automotive company.

As an interesting fact, its founder, Iwasaki Yanosuke, purchased the deserted city in 1868 when Edo became Tokyo. He transformed it into a European-style district with many brick buildings, the same bricks you can find in Saffron City.

Accessible in just a few minutes from Akihabara, Marunouchi Station is one of the largest in the country. As such, it has a Shinkansen line that leads directly to Osaka. This is not a coincidence, as in the city of the champion Erika, there is also a station that allows us to travel to Goldenrod City, the fictional equivalent of Osaka in the Gold and Silver versions.

Marunouchi Saffron City
Marunouchi Saffron City

Day 6: Maebashi, Iwajuku, and Atami (Cerulean City)

While Cerulean City, the land of Misty, draws its inspiration from Maebashi, you won’t find much to see there except for a few cafes and bars, as well as an observatory. The observatory offers a panoramic view of Chichibu Park, Mount Akagi, and its lakes to the east, the real-world equivalent of Mount Moon, a popular tourist destination that rises to an altitude of 1,828 meters.

To stay in the theme of the rocky city, you can also visit the prehistoric museum in Iwajuku, which inspired Cerulean City’s Museum of Science. Its mammoth skeleton is reminiscent of the fossilized skeletons of Kabutops and Aerodactyl. It’s an opportunity to experience rural Japan and recharge a bit before taking the bus to Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Maebashi Cerulean City
Maebashi Cerulean City

Day 7: Shimoda (Pallet Town)

And here we are, from Atami, we finally arrive in Shimoda, the real-world geographical equivalent of Pallet Town, the hometown of Ash and Gary in the anime, as well as Blue and Red in the games. This coastal town located in the south of the Izu Peninsula is a picturesque seaside resort where you can enjoy typical dishes and exceptional fresh products such as soba noodles.

For reference, the real inspiration for the starting town in the first generation is Machida, west of Tokyo. Why was this place chosen, you might wonder? Simply because this is where Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon, grew up and also where he caught insects and tadpoles as a child. However, it would be a lie to tell you that going there is worth it. So, let’s move on to the next stop.

Shimoda Pallet Town
Shimoda Pallet Town

Day 8: Izu Oshima (Cinnabar Island)

For hiking enthusiasts, head to Izu Oshima, the real-world counterpart of Cinnabar Island, Auguste’s coastal town, accessible by ferry from Atami (Shizuoka). Just like in the game, you’ll find beautiful beaches, walking trails, and impressive volcanoes, such as Mount Mihara, which is still active and stands at 758 meters. It can be reached via a hiking trail that passes through the Ura-sabaku desert and leads to its immense crater.

On-site, you’ll also find the Volcano Museum, which tells the story of this still-active volcano, among other things, as its name suggests. In 1986, for example, it experienced a historic and traumatic eruption for the local populations. It is precisely this apocalyptic catastrophe that inspired the destruction of Cinnabar Island, devastated by the fiery awakening of a volcano in the Gold and Silver versions.

Izu Oshima Cinnabar Island
Izu Oshima Cinnabar Island

Day 9: Hakone and Chichibu (Viridian City and Surroundings)

Just like Viridian City, which in the Pokémon games is hilly and surrounded by vegetation, Hakone, its real-life inspiration, is a mountainous and forested region known for its hot springs and views of Mount Fuji. It’s easily accessible from Shizuoka. Although very touristy, it’s well worth a visit.

Then, 120 kilometers north of Hakone, you’ll find Chichibu Park. This magnificent park, spread over 250 square kilometers, features eight forest-covered mountains and several mausoleums to visit. You guessed it, it’s the Viridian Forest in real life! Additionally, here too, you can take a bath in an onsen with a view of the mountains.

Chichibu Viridian City
Chichibu Viridian City

Day 10: Fujiyoshida (Indigo Plateau and Pokémon League)

Fujiyoshida is a city located in Yamanashi Prefecture, it is known for its picturesque views of Mount Fuji, one of Japan’s most iconic and revered mountains. Fujiyoshida is situated on the northern side of Mount Fuji and offers stunning vistas of the mountain, especially during clear weather.

The city is a popular destination for tourists and hikers looking to explore the natural beauty of the area. Visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, camping, and sightseeing in the Fuji Five Lakes region,. These lakes provide excellent opportunities for water sports and relaxation.

Fujiyoshida Indigo Plateau
Fujiyoshida Indigo Plateau

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