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Lakes are large bodies of fresh water that can be found in various locations across both the real world and the Pokémon world. They are often home to a vast variety of Pokémon, with many Water-types living in the water, and Pokémon of various other types, such as Normal, living in tall grass at the water's edge. There is a total of 25 known lakes in the Pokémon world, with many of them being located in the water-rich regions of Johto and Sinnoh.
Lakes are fairly rare in the Pokémon world, being far less common than forests, caves, and water routes. Their only appearances in the core series games have been in Johto and Sinnoh, being absent from Kanto, Hoenn, Unova, and Kalos, though smaller bodies of fresh water, such as rivers and ponds, have appeared in every region so far. They are usually pretty simple to navigate, not containing many obstacles, but often require the use of field moves, such as Surf, to fully explore. In HeartGold and SoulSilver, the Lake of Rage is shown to flood whenever it rains, meaning that on Wednesdays, when it doesn't rain, the player may travel on foot to certain areas that would have required Surf. The bed of Lake Valor can also briefly be explored on foot in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum after Team Galactic detonate the Galactic Bomb and cause the lake to dry up.
Symbolically, lakes are often presented as significant, mysterious areas, and tend to have myths or legends tied to them. This is most prominently displayed in Sinnoh, in which all four lakes are home to a legendary Pokémon and are linked to the Sinnoh myths. Lake Verity, Lake Valor, and Lake Acuity are home to the three lake guardians, Mesprit, Azelf, and Uxie, respectively, and are therefore targeted by Team Galactic and must be visited as part of the game's plot. Sinnoh's secret fourth lake, Sendoff Spring, is home to Turnback Cave, which, in Diamond and Pearl, houses Giratina, a member of the creation trio. In Platinum, the cave contains a portal to the Distortion World instead. The anime and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series both present lakes in a similar manner, with the Lake of Life, Remoraid Lake, Fogbound Lake, and Mystic Lake all being important or mystical locations.
List of lakes in the Pokémon world