Ecruteak is known as a historical and mythical city; fittingly, its buildings all feature traditional Japanese architecture, while the tallest building in the city, and perhaps all of Johto, is the ten-story Bell Tower in the city's northeast corner, built nearly a millennium before the events of the games. The city is known as being a centerpoint of the Legendary Pokémon native to the Johto region, with the great Ho-Oh once being said to have roosted atop the Bell Tower, and having created three Legendary beasts of the Pokémon who perished when the Brass Tower burned down.
A Historical City Where the Past Meets the Present (Japanese: むかしと いまが どうじに ながれる れきしの まちThe city where present and past concurrently flow in history.)
A Historical City (Japanese: れきしが ながれる まちThe city where history flows.)
The Ecruteak Gym is designed as a sort of maze, where one wrong step off the right path will send a challlenger back to the beginning. In Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, the Gym has an invisible path leading to Morty and passing several Trainers. In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the path is visible but the Gym is largely shrouded in darkness. Flames light up certain points in the path, including around Trainers, but once the player defeats a Trainer, their light will go out.
It was destroyed by a mysterious fire.
Please stay away, as it is unsafe.
The sad remains of this once-great tower, in the northwestern corner of the city, are all that is left after a fire engulfed it 150 years before the events of the games. It was once as majestic as the Bell Tower to the east, with the two towers representative of where Pokémon awakened and where they slept.
According to some legends, Lugia once perched on this tower; however, others place Lugia as always living in the Whirl Islands. Three Legendary beasts make their home in the basement of the tower, given new life after it burned down by Ho-Oh, who once perched atop the Bell Tower.
The player's rival, exploring the area, will challenge the player a third time when they arrive here.
Barrier Station to Bell Tower
No Trespassing by the Unworthy
The Barrier Station to Bell Tower is a grand, red-roofed gatehouse located in the north of Ecruteak City, at the end of the city's wide main street. This gate houses three Sages, collectively called the Wise Trio (Japanese: ３にんしゅうgroup of 3 men). It serves to prevent the player proceeding to Bell Tower until they have the Fog Badge. In Pokémon Crystal, the three Sages battle the player before allowing passage. Past the station is Ecruteak's Bellchime Trail and Bell Tower.
Bellchime Trail is a short path in the northeast of Ecruteak City connecting it to the Bell Tower. In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, it is a separate save location within Ecruteak City; in Pokémon Gold and Silver, it was unnamed and part of the same map as Ecruteak City's main area.
A majestic tower to the east, the Bell Tower is where Ho-Oh was once said to roost. With the Rainbow Wing, the player is able to prove to Ho-Oh that they are a pure-hearted person who will bring Pokémon and people back into harmony with one another.
Meanwhile, Ash and his friends wandered into the Burned Tower, mistaking it for the Ecruteak Gym. After they experienced some trouble with the local Ghost Pokémon, Morty arrived at the site and cleared everything up, then informed the group that the place was in fact once called the Tin Tower, a nestling ground for the Legendary Pokémon Ho-Oh. When the tower burned down during a fight over Ho-Oh's power, the Rainbow Pokémon fled, never to be seen again, even though a new Tin Tower was built nearby in hopes that this would someday happen. Upon seeing a picture of Ho-Oh, Ash instantly recognized it as the mysterious Pokémon he saw on the day he started his journey, although Morty didn't seem to believe him. After dealing with Team Rocket trying to steal Pikachu once again, Ash and Morty agreed to have a Gym battle. The battle was conducted during the next day, where Ash, using his Noctowl as his ace, managed to pull through and win himself the Fog Badge. Morty also admitted that Ash might have indeed seen Ho-Oh like he claimed.
In Trouble's Brewing, before heading to Olivine City, Ash and his friends encountered the Kimono Sisters. The youngest of the sisters, Sakura, struck a friendship with the group, and wondered if she should start traveling with them. Eventually, however, she decided to train on her own before embarking on her own Pokémon journey.
In Espeon, Not Included, Ash and his friends returned to Ecruteak City on their way to Mahogany Town, and encountered the Kimono Girls again, finding out that Sakura had evolved her Eevee into an Espeon. By the end of the episode, Sakura finally embarked on her own journey to collect Badges. In For Ho-Oh the Bells Toll!, the group met Eusine, a friend of Morty's and a pursuer of the Legendary Pokémon Suicune. Upon finding out that Ash had seen Suicune, he accused him of lying and tried to challenge him to a battle, but the match was interrupted when Bug Pokémon started going wild around the city due to Team Rocket having stolen and accidentally broken one of the four Crystal Bells. While dealing with the trio of thieves, the group came face to face with Suicune itself. Eusine attempted to battle the Legendary beast, but the Aurora Pokémon easily escaped by using Roar on Eusine's Alakazam.
Ash and Go visited Ecruteak City in SS009 to investigate the Ho-Oh sightings made there. However, it turned out that the sighted "Ho-Oh" was just a disguised Fearow belonging to a boy named Kurio, who desperately wanted his grandfather Jiei to see Ho-Oh so that he could regain his fate of its existence. With Go's advice, they started climbing the Bell Tower, but they were caught in illusions created by a Misdreavus and a Stantler until Go caught them. At the top of the tower, they started waving Jiei's Rainbow Wing around and calling for Ho-Oh to appear. Though their calls didn't seem to work, the Rainbow Wing started glowing in response to a rainbow appearing in the sky. When they started to leave, Jiei managed to get a view of Ho-Oh flying in the distance, though the others didn't see it.
Ecruteak City reappeared in a major role in The Reawakening. Eusine was seen visiting the Burned Tower, all the while going through the story of how the tower originally burned down, killing the three nameless Pokémon that Ho-Oh then resurrected in the form of the Legendary beasts. Unexpectedly, Suicune showed up, allowing Eusine to look at itself for a few seconds before leaving. Despite the encounter being very brief, Eusine felt hopeful that the Legendary beasts were probably starting to regain their faith in humanity.
Ecruteak City debuted in Quilava Quandary, where the entire city was caught up in a giant earthquake. Jasmine, who was on her way to meet the Day-Care Couple at Route 34, got caught up in the devastation and ended up getting trapped in rubble. In Ampharos Amore, Gold and Silver noticed the light sent up by Jasmine's Amphy and rescued her, also coming to realize that the earthquake had been caused by a trained Pokémon. The Pokémon in question was revealed to be a Piloswine used by a group of Team Rocket members, including the two Rocket ExecutivesCarl and Sham. With their combined efforts, Gold and Silver were able to defeat Team Rocket and force them to retreat. It was later revealed that Team Rocket had destroyed the city in an attempt to make Ho-Oh appear.
Gold traveled there to ask Morty about Lance's whereabouts, with Silver arriving shortly after to get Morty's help in locating the Plates scattered around Johto. Unexpectedly, the Ecruteak Gym was attacked by Arceus, and Gold started pursuing it while Silver headed out to collect all the Plates.
In the Pokémon Gold & Silver: The Golden Boys manga
In A Promise Given to Miltank, Gold attempted to challenge Morty, but he refused to let Gold into his Gym with only two Badges. After Gold had gotten the Plain Badge from Whitney, he tried to challenge Morty again, only to find out that he was leaving the Gym for a while and thus was unable to battle him. As such, Morty chose to give Gold a Fog Badge for free and told him to keep it at least until they could have a proper Gym battle.
Unused early maps of Ecruteak City also hint at the Magnet Train running through it as well, possibly instead of through Goldenrod City. The reason they may have considered this could have to do with the fact that Kyoto, the city that Ecruteak City is based on, is an intermediate stop on the real-world Tokaido Shinkansen, which inspired the Magnet Train.