From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
A map of the Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh regions.
A region (Japanese: 地方 chihō) is an organized area of the Pokémon world. There are at most sixteen known regions that have appeared in the various Pokémon canons.
In the main series
Five regions have appeared in the main series of Pokémon games. They are, in order of appearance, Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova. Each region has been the setting of at least three games (four games in the case of Unova) in the generation in which it debuts.
The regions are structured similarly. Typically, a region will have its own Pokémon League, comprised of eight Gym Leaders. Once these eight are defeated, Trainers can challenge the regional Elite Four, which may or may not be shared with another, nearby region (so far, Johto does not have its own Elite Four, as it shares it with that of Kanto). Accordingly, each one also has a Pokémon Professor, who teaches new Trainers about Pokémon and gives out starter Pokémon to them. There is usually a villainous team operating within the region that use Pokémon to further their goals.
Though there are many similarities between them, there are some major differences between the regions, such as what Pokémon are located there and what legends there are waiting to be uncovered. Visitors from another region quickly realize that the region they are visiting is far from their home, both in the way of the climate, distance and location; and in the culture of the people there.
In Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, Professor Oak explains that Sinnoh, Kanto, and Hoenn (and probably Johto and others) are part of a larger country, whose name has yet to be revealed. This concept is similar to the regions of Japan, which the Pokémon world has been modeled after, and from which the Pokémon nation's Kanto region takes its name. Unova is known to be located far away from Kanto and Johto, and as such may not be part of this country.
In the side series
The region of the Generation III side series games, Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, Orre has similar characteristics to the main series regions but lacks some basic main series features. There are mostly Pokémon Trainers inhabiting the region. There are very few settlements and no routes. There is no official Pokémon League, but rather a variety of facilities which offer consecutive battles. There is a regional professor, Professor Krane and regional villains, Cipher and Team Snagem. Wild Pokémon only appear in rare areas called Poké Spots.
In spin off games
The regions in spin off games differ dramatically from the regions in the main series. Regions like Fiore, Almia and Oblivia are much smaller and have different cultures. They prefer Pokémon as pets instead of tools for battling. Pokémon Trainers are not present in the regions. Pokémon are not kept inside Poké Balls and wild Pokémon can be seen wandering cities as well as routes. Pokémon Rangers act as authority, helping Pokémon and people in need. There are no individual Gyms, an Elite Four or a Champion. However, Rangers can take the Capture Challenge to test their skills. Despite their peaceful natures, there are villainous teams that operate within both regions that capture and use Pokémon to further their goals of world domination. One such villainous team has been known to brainwash Pokémon using their advanced technology, causing them to lose their memories and wreak havoc.
The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series takes place in a region that is populated solely by Pokémon; humans do not live there. Most Pokémon live in dungeons, as there is shown to be hardly any modernized communities among Pokémon themselves. The only towns shown are Pokémon Square, Treasure Town, and Shaymin Village, all of which are very small. Some of the Pokémon within them form exploration teams that explore dungeons and help Pokémon in need. There is an associated federation similar to the Ranger Union in Fiore and Almia that organizes all activities for rescue and exploration teams. The Wigglytuff Guild is where beginning exploration teams live and learn the basics. The Makuhita Dojo and Marowak Dojos are places somewhat similar to Gyms in the main regions where exploration teams hone their skills.
Pokémon Snap is set on Pokémon Island, an isolated reserve home to many species of Pokémon. It appears to have a relationship with the Kanto region of the main series, as Professor Oak appears to have some authority over the island. Pokémon Channel is set in Mintale Town, which is inhabited by many species of Pokémon. Humans may live there too; there is at least one suburban area. Holon and the Trading Card Game Islands appear in the Pokémon Trading Card Game and the eponymous video games. The relationship of these regions with the others is unclear.
In the anime
The protagonists of the Pokémon anime, Ash Ketchum and his traveling companions, have visited the first five main series regions (Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh and Unova) in the same order the games have been released. To accommodate plots, story arcs, and episode numbers, regions in the anime are much larger than their game counterparts. The regions are shown to have a number of cities and towns that are not present in the games. In some cases, some areas are moved to a different region from their game counterparts. For example, the Hoenn Battle Frontier in Pokémon Emerald was not in Hoenn in the anime. It was located in Kanto, with the different facilities scattered all over the region rather being located on an island.
Additionally, one region exists in the anime that does not exist in any video game. The Orange Archipelago was the tropical setting for the second season of the anime. Located south of Kanto and Johto, it differs from the standard region formula, with only four Gyms. This truncated version of events is likely due to the Orange Islands being a "filler" arc while Nintendo prepared the release of the second generation of Pokémon.
- All main series regions introduced in odd-numbered generations have had at least one Gym that has had more than one Gym Leader depending on either generation or version.
- The names of the five regions visited in the main series games are all composed of four kana: カントー (Kanto), ジョウト (Johto), ホウエン (Hoenn), シンオウ (Sinnoh), and イッシュ (Unova).
- Each region has the letter 'o' in each of it's English names (Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh and Unova).