From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
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
Summoning Celebi at the Ilex Forest shrine with the GS Ball in Pokémon Crystal
The shrine is present in Pokémon Gold and Silver, but is purely aesthetic.
In the original Japanese release of Pokémon Crystal, a Celebi can be caught at the shrine. The Pokémon Mobile System GB held special events in 2001 which allowed players to obtain the GS Ball from a Pokémon Center Nurse 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.
The shrine appears in the remakes of Gold and Silver, 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 approaches it with the Pikachu-colored Pichu. A Pikachu or Raichu evolved from this Pichu will also activate the event.
If the shrine is approached with a promotional event Celebi as the partner Pokémon, Celebi will take the player and their friend 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 to prevent him from reuniting with Team Rocket during their takeover of the Goldenrod Radio Tower.
In the anime
In the anime, the shrine has 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!, a shrine that resembled the Ilex Forest's shrine resided in Marion Town.
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 at. Jessie snatched one, Meowth the other, leaving James empty-handed. They then spotted a Farfetch'd—Sylvester's—wandering around, and, knowing that it was very rare and valuable, planned to catch it and sell it to the highest bidder. After Team Rocket left, Ash and his friends arrived to 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 first time the shrine is seen is when Sam ran into it before Celebi transported him into the future. The second time it appears is after he was transported to the future.
In Celebi and Joy!, Ritchie and Sparky saved a young Nurse Joy hanging from a cliff with some help from her Rapidash. 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.
In the manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
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In You Ain't Nothin' but a Houndour, after being attacked by a wild Farfetch'd, Gold quickly tells his Pokémon to run away from an advancing Wing Attack. They arrive at a small wooden shrine, which happened to be the Ilex Forest shrine, and decide to take shelter behind it. Later, in The Ariados up There, the little wooden shrine Gold hid behind earlier suddenly starts to glow, and the Masked Man instantly stops his pursuit of Gold to make his way towards the shrine instead. However, it stopped glowing before he gets there, concealing its secrets again.
Later, they returned to the shrine for the final confrontation. Celebi was captured in the GS Ball, and the combatants entered the timestream by passing through the shrine's doors. After defeating the foe and apparently becoming lost in time, Gold appeared from the shrine, to everyone's surprise.
In other languages