From Pikachu to Paradise: 6 Vacation Spots Every Pokémon Fan Should Visit

by Kristina Lazzara-Saari


Last month, the release of Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet video games created yet another  Pokémon craze.  Ten million games were sold in its first three days, making it Nintendo’s biggest launch. 

“Pokémon has captured the hearts of fans around the world for more than 25 years and is the number one toy brand in the United States. It has something for everyone, whether it’s Pokémon video games, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, Pokémon animation, or the more than one billion global downloads of Pokémon GO,” said Andy Hartpence, Sr. Director, Brand and Video Game Marketing at The Pokémon Company International.

The  Pokémon universe not only allows fans to explore in-game regions but also introduces players of all ages to various cities and countries. So if you’re looking to plan a vacation to a destination that the whole family will enjoy, here are six vacation spots sure to please any crazed Pokémon fan. 


Image Credit: Shutterstock


6 Legendary Vacation Spots

“People don’t realize that Pokémon’s in-game regions and cities are actually based on places and landmarks in real life,” said Jason Dempsey, CEO of Home City Living. 

So if you desire a family vacation that’s met with more enthusiasm and less complaining, incorporate stops and tours at landmarks Pokémon fans will recognize from the game universe at these six destinations in the U.S. and abroad. 

1. Japan

It’s no surprise that the birthplace of Pokémon served as inspiration for four regions, or universes, within numerous games. So when building a Japanese adventure, consider these major tourist attractions with Pokémon ties.  


Tokyo, the capital of Japan, influenced the two most bustling cities in the games, Celadon and Saffron City. Additionally, it is also home to the first and largest Pokémon Center retail store. 

Kyoto is Japan’s cultural and historical capital, with traditional temples, shrines, gardens, geisha, shops, and festivals. While historical building tours are often met with kids’ complaints,  Pokémon fans will enjoy the similarities to Ecruteak City, the Bell Tower (Kinkaku-Ji and Tō-Ji), and Burned Tower (Kinkaku-Ji and Tō-Ji).

Based on the identically named Japanese city Kantō, it is the first region introduced in the Pokémon franchise. You can visit landmarks such as Pallet Town, Viridian Forest, and Mt. Silver. These places are significant to the Pokémon series as they are where Ash Ketchum, the anime’s protagonist, began his journey,” said Robin Salvador, CMO, Thinkfast

2. New York City

One of the most popular vacation spots in the world, New York City, is also the real-life inspiration for Pokémon’s Unova region featured in the Black and White game series. The game’s Castelia City mimics Manhattan’s bustling metropolis and features Central Park (Entralink), New York Botanical Garden (Pokémon League), Grand Central Station, and Penn Station (Gear Station).

“Seeing how Castelia City looks so similar to Lower Manhattan was pretty cool. I instantly recognized the Skyarrow Bridge in the game as looking very similar to the Brooklyn Bridge,” said Roger Senpai, a lifelong Pokémon player. 

Pokemon players walk across an almost identically structured virtual bridge in the games, turning what could be seen as a boring walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for kids into something exciting for Pokemon fans.

3. France 

The creators of Pokémon X and Y’s Kalos region took a European vacation to northern and metropolitan France that can be mimicked. The game’s Lumiose City takes inspiration from Paris, The City of Lights, whose name is also inspired by the French word for light, la lumière.

If you’ve always dreamed of touring the Palance of Versailles but don’t want to deal with kids’ ire, tell them it’s actually the real-life Parfum Palace, which was also a former royal residence converted into a museum. In-game and real life, museum-goers can observe paintings, sculptures, and other artwork that’s out of this world. 

4. Hawaii

Featured in Pokémon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon, say Aloha to Alola. A play on words, Alola is based on The Hawaiian Islands, a top vacation spot for families. Add a long list of  Pokémon landmarks, and you’ve got more reasons to explore these stunning islands.

No matter the Hawaiian Island you’re on, there are  Pokémon landmarks almost everywhere. For example, the Oheʻo Gulch on Maui’s famed Road To Hana, Hilo’s Lili’uokalani Gardens, Kauai’s Wailua River State Park, or the Banzai Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore, the real-life inspiration for Big Wave Beach. 

“I’ve planned a trip to Oahu to explore some of the in-game landmarks. It’s a great island to pick because it has so many Pokémon related areas but also has plenty to do, like hikes and plenty of beaches to visit,” said Wayne Barnard, Founder of SuperRareCandy

“Another real-life in-game location is Diamond Head on Oahu, a mountainous cone created by volcanic activity, now a national monument. It inspired the Ten Carat Hill on Melemele Island and was part of the very first shot of the Alola region from the debut trailer back in 2016. Diamond Head would be an adventure all on its own, giving one the feeling of being a Pokémon Trainer in a new region,” said Joshua of the Pokémon focused YouTube channel, GatorEX

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

5. The United Kingdom 

The Galar Region featured in Pokémon Sword and Shield is a homage to English, Scottish, and Wales’ lush geography and architecture. It’s the only destination with an official tour guide from The Pokemon Company that maps in-game and real-life locations. Eagle-eyed fans will recognize the Galar region map as Great Britain flipped upside down.

“I recently traveled to the UK, and it’s interesting to see how much Nintendo designers drew inspiration from the region. For example, London is Wyndon City in the game. You can see many similar landmarks in the game, such as the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, and the Thames River,” said Senpai

6. Iberian Penisula

The brand new Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet also introduces a new region in the  Pokémon Universe, Paldea. 

“The Paldea region shares many geographical similarities with the Iberian Peninsula but, like all core Pokémon games, it also features creative similarities of various locations,” said Hartpence. 

Just like the real-life countries in this part of Europe, Paldera is a combination of vast open spaces dotted with lakes, towering peaks, mountain ranges, and large cities. Families traveling to Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Seville can be some of the first to make the connections between these two interconnected worlds.  

Will Your Journeys Take You To a Pokémon Destination?

“We are delighted when fans are reminded of the joy and wonder of Pokémon as they travel. It is our sincere hope to enrich both the real and virtual world with Pokémon,” said Hartpence.

“As the franchise has been around for over twenty-six years, most original fans are adults who can now travel for themselves or even parents who can pass on traditions to the next generation,” said Josh. 

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Kristina Lazzara-Saari
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