It is modeled after Japan's capital city of Tokyo and is the largest and one of the busiest cities in Kanto, being famous even in other regions. It is the tenth most populous city in the Pokémon world and one of the only cities in Kanto that has enough visible houses to accommodate its population in the games. The large Silph Co. headquarters building stands firm as the city's centerpiece while two Gyms dominate the north-eastern corner district. Not only is this the central business district of Kanto, it also holds the region's largest infrastructure, including the Magnet Train station, which allows ease of access between Kanto and Johto.
Shining, Golden Land of Commerce (Japanese: ヤマブキ きんいろ かがやきのいろYamabuki is the color of golden radiance.)
Shining Big City (Japanese: ひかり かがやく だいとかいShining big city)
The Silph Co. Headquarters is the largest and tallest building in the city. They are the leading manufacturer of Pokémon technology in the world, and produce a variety of goods for Trainers, such as the Poké Ball and the Silph Scope. Their status made them a target in the Generation I storyline, in which Team Rocket orchestrated the takeover of their headquarters in Saffron City. The player will arrive just in time to take on the mission of driving them out of the city, and the President of Silph will reveal afterwards the top-secret development Team Rocket was after: the Master Ball, which can catch any Pokémon without fail.
The Silph Co. Office Building is an eleven-floor skyscraper, and effectively a giant maze. People must navigate the building using warp tiles in order to reach different rooms. Some people hold a Card Key, which unlocks Silph's doors like a hotel key. During the events of the Team Rocket takeover, the player must find the Card Key on the fourth floor of the building. All the while, the player must battle numerous Team Rocket Grunts, including the Rocket Brothers, and one Juggler. After this, the player may continue on to the board room to face Giovanni for the Master Ball. After driving Team Rocket out of the Silph headquarters, the player is free to explore the building and talk to the employees.
In Generation II, Silph Co. has increased security, and the player is not allowed to enter the upper floors. One of the guards, however, will kindly give the player an Up-Grade for talking to him, which will allow a Porygon to evolve, through a trade, into Porygon2. In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, one of the Hoenn region's starter Pokémon may be obtained here towards the end of the game from the Hoenn Champion himself, Steven. The alternate forms of Rotom may also be accessed here in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, and the notebook present in the room Rotom's appliances can be found in indicates that Charon may have had past connection to the company.
It has been established that the Fighting Dojo and the Saffron Gym once competed against each other to determine which one would be the Indigo League's sixth Gym. Due to the type advantage that the Psychic-type Pokémon that were trained at the Saffron Gym had over the Fighting-type Pokémon used by the Dojo, Saffron Gym easily won and became the official Gym.
The Dojo is closed in Generation II because the Karate Master is training in Johto's Mt. Mortar. In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the Gym Leaders of Kanto and Johto can be found here for a rematch, much like how the Sinnoh Gym Leaders can be found for a rematch in the Battleground in Pokémon Platinum. Unlike Platinum, the Leaders have set times at which they will appear and they will not arrive at the Dojo until certain conditions have been met elsewhere in the game. Specifically, each Leader's Pokégear telephone number must be obtained while he or she is not in their Gym. Once the Gym Leader has been telephoned, he or she will accept multiple rematches, provided it is still within their allotted time period.
To board the train, the player must have a Pass. The Copycat in Saffron City has one and is willing to give it up as a reward for returning her the Poké Doll that Red gave to her three years before. Initially, the train is out of service as a minion of Team Rocket has stolen a valuable part from the Kanto Power Plant. After defeating him on Route 24, the player can retrieve the part from the Cerulean Gym and return it to the Power Plant. With the component back in place, the train will have the necessary power to run.
Mr. Psychic lives in a small house that is located on the southeastern side of the city, being better accessible by entering Saffron City from the southern entrance. He sits at a table in the middle of the room. When talked to for the first time in every game he is featured on, he will claim to know that the player really wants to receive a gift from him, giving away TM29 (Psychic) to the player.
The Saffron Gym is the official Gym of Saffron City. It is based on Psychic-typePokémon. The Gym Leader is Sabrina. Trainers who defeat her receive the Marsh Badge. The Saffron Gym is a maze of warp tiles and nine rooms, seven of which contain Trainers, while the other two are Sabrina's room and the entrance. In HeartGold and SoulSilver, this was changed to four rooms with trainers in.
The unused map of Saffron City from FireRed and LeafGreen
In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, if the overworld's collision data is bypassed in order to skip any of the gates surrounding the city, the player will access an alternate version of Saffron City, whereby all warps and events are absent. This is because the real Saffron City is not directly connected to its adjacent routes so the game loads a copy of the map that assures the continuity of the overworld.
This is not the case in the Generation I games. The map of "fake" Saffron City is also very similar to that of the original games in that its boundaries are set so that it leaves the gates outside of the map. Its in-game behavior is alike the Generation I games as well.
Certain Pokémon will emerge from the elevator in the Silph Co. building and attack briefly, similar to Pokémon summoned from Poké Balls. Occasionally, Pidgey, Fearow, Butterfree, and other Flying-type Pokémon will appear in the background.
During the game's intro, Pikachu can be seen rolling on a Poké Ball as a person walks by.
Ash, Misty, and Brock returned to Saffron City in Haunter versus Kadabra, accompanied by a Haunter Ash had befriended. Unfortunately, Haunter preferred comedy over battling, and disappeared before the rematch. Ash managed to find Haunter again, but it disappeared yet again when Ash re-entered the Gym. To protect Ash, Pikachu faced Sabrina's Kadabra. After a while, Haunter appeared and made Sabrina laugh for the first time in years. As her Kadabra was rendered unable to battle by the laughter, Sabrina gave Ash the Marsh Badge and kept Haunter with her.
Later that day, Team Rocket managed to steal several Pokémon belonging to Coordinators who were in the city to take part in the Saffron Contest, but thanks to Harley and May, their scheme was foiled. The other day, when May went to register, the lady in the registration desk told her that she needed a Contest Pass from Kanto and that the deadline was 10 AM, and May realized that Harley had lied to her. Luckily for her, Lilian appeared and told the receptionist that if it were not for May rescuing the Coordinators' Pokémon, there would be no Pokémon Contest. After that, May received her Kanto Contest Pass and was registered in the Saffron Contest.
During the competition, which took place in A Hurdle for Squirtle, Harley used his Cacturne, Jessebella used her Cacnea, and May used her Combusken in the Performance Stage. The three of them were able to impress the panel of judges enough to advance to the Battle Stage. There, Harley defeated Jessebella and quickly made his way to the final round, where he found himself up against May. Using his Ariados against her Squirtle, Harley held the upper hand for most of their battle, having lowered May's score considerably. However, Squirtle ended up knocking out Ariados, making May the winner of the Saffron City Pokémon Contest. This victory gave May the Saffron Ribbon, her first Kanto Ribbon.
Saffron City appeared in the Pokémon Origins episode File 3: Giovanni. Soon after arriving into the city, Red encountered Blue, and together they saved a woman from being harassed by Team Rocket. The woman revealed herself to be the Silph Co.'s president's secretary, and told the two Trainers that Team Rocket had taken over the company, intending to steal the Master Ball they were developing. Wanting to free the Pokémon used in the development tests, Red stormed the Silph Co., releasing all the imprisoned Pokémon and Scientists inside. At the top floor, he encountered the Boss of Team Rocket, Giovanni. He had a battle against the criminal leader, but was easily defeated, and Giovanni got away.
Following the Silph Co. incident, Red challenged Sabrina to a Gym battle and defeated her, earning the Marsh Badge. Afterwards, he challenged the Karate Master at the Fighting Dojo and won, earning himself a Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan as a reward.
The Pokédex holders subsequently stormed Silph Co. and battled against the evil Gym Leaders serving for Team Rocket; Lt. Surge, Koga, and Sabrina, and the Legendary birds they controlled. With a device called the Badge Energy Amplifier, Green accidentally fused the three Legendary birds into one being, Thu-Fi-Zer. With their combined efforts, the three Pallet Town Trainers managed to defeat the creature and separate it back into its three original forms, which then fled.
During the Silph Co. battle, lower members of Team Rocket tried to escape the city, but were all caught by the Gym Leaders of Justice (Brock, Misty, and Erika) and their allies outside of the city gates.
Satoshi arrives in Saffron City in the seventh chapter, Saffron City. With Sabrina's help, Satoshi defeated Giovanni, who had taken over the city and the Silph Co. office building. For his help, Satoshi earned the Marsh Badge.