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 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 is the only region not to have its own Elite Four; it shares one with Kanto). Each one also typically has a Pokémon professor, who teach youngsters about Pokémon and give out starter Pokémon to them. There is usually a villainous team operating within the region, who uses 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, 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. The fifth generation's region, Unova, is known to be far away from Kanto and Johto, and as such may not be part of this country.
In side games
The regions in the side series differ dramatically from the regions in the main series such as Johto and Sinnoh. Regions like Fiore and Almia 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 is however, 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 know to brainwash Pokémon using their advanced technology, causing them to lose their memories and wreak havoc.
Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness both take place in the Orre region. This region is mostly covered by a vast desert, a small green area to the west, and a large sea on it's southern border (assumed to be how the region keeps in physical contact with the other regions). The region has many towns and other locations, but due to wastelands there are no connecting routes between the locations, so trainers have to make use of hover-bikes and other vehicles to traverse the region. Most locations (such as Pyrite Town) give off a post apocalyptic feel, mostly made up of old building and machine parts, while other locations (such as Agate Village and Phenac City) sport a more serene look and feel. Although the region feels old and beaten, it makes use of advanced technology not seen in other regions, such as hover-vehicles and the highly advanced Snag Machine, which allows the user to capture a Pokémon that a trainer has already captured. While this region is very similar to the main series regions it has a few noticeable differences. Battles are, for the most part, almost always conducted in double-battles. Wild Pokémon are scarce due to the region's harsh environment, so trainers usually have their Pokémon imported from other regions (primarily Hoenn and Johto). In Pokémon Colosseum there are only three wild Pokémon to be shown, but in Pokémon XD trainers may encounter a limited number of wild Pokémon through the use of Poké Spots. There doesn't seem to be any form of a Pokémon League in this region, and instead of gyms the region boasts a large amount of Colosseum type stadiums that battles take place in; but Michael wanting to start his Pokémon journey when he came of age seems to indicate that there may be some form of a Pokémon League present. The main focus of the two games that take place in this region are Shadow Pokémon, Pokémon who have had their hearts artificially sealed to make them more aggressive and powerful. Through use of the Snag Machine, Wes and Michael have to capture (snag) these Shadow Pokémon and purify their hearts to stop the evil plans of Team Snagem and Cipher, the two criminal organizations of the region.
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 TCG 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 and no Pokémon League. 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 have 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).