Ilex Forest shrine

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Celebi sitting on the shrine

The Ilex Forest shrine (Japanese: ウバメのもりのほこら Ubame Forest hokora) is a small structure located in the center of Ilex Forest, its namesake, which can be found west of Azalea Town in the Johto region. Many people say that the shrine is a symbol of good luck and wards off evil spirits. Some others say the shrine is linked to the Mythical Pokémon Celebi, which is believed to live inside it as the guardian of the forest.

In the games

Generation II

Summoning Celebi at the Ilex Forest shrine with the GS Ball in Pokémon Crystal

The shrine is present in Pokémon Gold and Silver, but it is purely aesthetic.

In the original Japanese release of Pokémon Crystal, a Celebi can be caught at the shrine. The Mobile System GB held special events in 2001, which allowed players to obtain the GS Ball from a Pokémon Center lady in the Pokémon Communication Center in Goldenrod City. The GS Ball may then be taken to Kurt in Azalea Town for him to investigate. After a day passes, taking the GS Ball to the Ilex Forest shrine summons a level 30 Celebi. The player then has the opportunity to capture the Psychic/Grass Pokémon.

In the original Western releases of Pokémon Crystal, there is no way of obtaining the GS Ball, as no event equivalent to the one present in the Japanese version was ever offered to players of the Western versions of the game. Without the GS Ball, the Celebi event cannot be triggered. However, it is possible to obtain the item by hacking or exploiting glitches within the game. Some game-enhancing devices, however, such as the GameShark, can be used to generate the GS Ball right in the player's Bag in all versions of the game.

In the Virtual Console release of Pokémon Crystal, the GS Ball can be obtained without an event, allowing players to trigger the Celebi event at the shrine regardless of language.

Generation IV

Spiky-eared Pichu and Pikachu-colored Pichu playing near the Ilex Forest shrine

The shrine appears in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, in the same location as in Generation II, in the Ilex Forest. Spiky-eared Pichu will appear at the Ilex Forest shrine and will join the player's party if the player interacts with it while a Pikachu-colored Pichu is their walking Pokémon. A Pikachu or Raichu evolved from this Pichu will also activate the event.

If the shrine is approached with a fateful encounter Celebi as the player's walking Pokémon (and the player has beaten Team Rocket at Goldenrod Radio Tower), Lyra will appear and Celebi will take the player and Lyra back in time—first to see Giovanni leave his son Silver after being defeated in Kanto, and then further ahead in time to battle and defeat Giovanni at Tohjo Falls to prevent him from reuniting with Team Rocket during their takeover of the Goldenrod Radio Tower.


In the anime

The forest shrine located in Ilex Forest

In the anime, the shrine briefly appeared in A Farfetch'd Tale, and another shrine appeared in Celebi: The Voice of the Forest, being strikingly similar to the Ilex Forest shrine. In Celebi and Joy!, Marion Town was shown to have a forest shrine dedicated to Celebi, which also bore a strong resemblance to the one shown in Ilex Forest.

In A Farfetch'd Tale, Team Rocket got lost and hungry in the Ilex Forest. Meowth smelled food nearby and they found the small Ilex Forest shrine where two dumplings were left there as offerings. Jessie snatched one, Meowth the other, leaving James empty-handed. They then spotted a rare Farfetch'd and quickly left to pursue it. Ash and his friends arrived at the shrine with Sylvester, who said it was a shrine to the spirit that watches over the forest. In order to find the lost Farfetch'd, they all ran in different directions, and agreed to meet back at the shrine in an hour.

Although the shrine seen in Celebi: The Voice of the Forest wasn't the same Ilex Forest shrine, it does contain the same qualities. It is found in the deepest part of the forest, and many people say that the shrine is linked to the Mythical Pokémon, Celebi, who supposedly lives inside the forest shrine, as the forest guardian. The shrine was first seen when Sam ran into it before Celebi transported him into the future, and it reappeared as Sam arrived into the future.

In Celebi and Joy!, Ritchie and Sparky saved a young Nurse Joy hanging from a cliff with some help from her Ponyta. Joy explained that she saw some flowers that she wanted to pick for Celebi when she fell. She then explained the legends that say that a Celebi lives in this forest, and she believed it was true. To prove it, she showed them a shrine that was put up in the forest a long time ago. Later that night, during a thunderstorm, Nick's father was informed that Joy ran into the forest. As Ritchie and Nick headed out to look for Joy, they found her unconscious near the shrine. As a fire raged near them, a Celebi appeared and protected them from the danger.

In Time After Time!, Goh discovered the shrine while searching around Ilex Forest for Pokémon to catch. In-between the shrine's doors, he discovered a letter left for him by his childhood friend Horace, explaining why he hadn't been able to meet him years earlier on the day they had promised to meet each other in order to look for the shrine. Horace then appeared, and as the childhood friends reunited, two Celebi, including a Shiny one, were briefly seen observing them before flying away.

In the manga

Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details.

Pokémon Adventures

Ilex Forest shrine in Pokémon Adventures

Gold, Silver & Crystal arc

The shrine first appeared in You Ain't Nothin' but a Houndour, where Gold hid behind it to take cover from a Farfetch'd that was attacking him. In The Ariados up There, the shrine began to glow, causing the Masked Man to abandon his chase for Gold in order to reach the glow, but it disappeared before he could reach it.

The shrine reappeared during the climax of the arc, where Pryce successfully used the GS Ball he had just finished crafting to catch Celebi as it emerged from the shrine, ordering it to take him back in time through the crack of time within the shrine. The Johto Pokédex holders pursued Pryce into the time stream on the backs of the Legendary beasts, with Gold succeeding in destroying the GS Ball with Pibu's "Super Rising Thunder", setting Celebi free. Pryce was then left floating in the crack of time while the Pokédex holders escaped.

HeartGold & SoulSilver arc

The shrine reappeared in a flashback in All About Arceus VII, where Pryce told how Celebi had freed him from the crack of time to stop a disaster threatening the Johto and Sinnoh regions that he had foreseen while floating in the time stream. Giovanni, who had also arrived at the shrine to seek Celebi's help in curing his long-time illness, attacked Pryce on sight, due to him being responsible for the kidnapping of his son Silver years earlier, but Lance, who had helped to organize Pryce's return, arrived just in time to prevent the situation from escalating.

201 Spoilers end here. 201


  • The Ilex Forest shrine resembles a hokora, a small Shinto shrine, and is referred to as one in the original Japanese version.
  • There are also two other shrines in the core series games: one is located in Sinnoh's Celestic Town, and the other, called the Abundant Shrine, is located on Unova's Route 14.
  • In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, if Celebi has fainted during the fight against Giovanni, Ethan/Lyra will notice this and use a Max Revive on it.
  • According to an interview uploaded in the official Game Freak's YouTube channel about Celebi's creation[1], it seems that no one at the company knows nor remembers why the shrine was added to the map. It wasn't until they heard rumors about Celebi having a relation with the shrine that they included an in-game event where it could be found there.

In other languages

Language Title
Mandarin Chinese 桐樹林的小廟 Tóngshùlín de Xiǎomiào *
桐树林祠堂 Tóngshùlín Cítáng *
Finland Flag.png Finnish Ilex-metsän alttari
France Flag.png French Autel du Bois aux Chênes
Germany Flag.png German Steineichenwald-Schrein
Italy Flag.png Italian Santuario del Bosco di Lecci
South Korea Flag.png Korean 너도밤나무숲의 사당 Neodobam Namusup-ui Sadang
Poland Flag.png Polish Świątynia Lasu Ilex
Brazil Flag.png Brazilian Portuguese Santuário da Floresta Ilex (PS180-present)
Santuário de Ilex (PS176)
Spain Flag.png Spanish Santuario del Encinar
Vietnam Flag.png Vietnamese Khu miếu Ubame


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