In Generation II, the tower is known as the Tin Tower, and only the Rainbow Wing is required to reach the top. In Pokémon Crystal, the Clear Bell summons Suicune to the ground floor of the tower; however, Ho-Oh does not appear until the Elite Four has been defeated and all three of the legendary beasts have been captured in the current save file. Defeating the legendary beasts or trading them from other games will not activate this event.
Seven hundred years before the events of the games, two nine-tier towers were built opposite each other in Ecruteak City. The towers were built to foster friendship and hope between Pokémon and people. The view from atop the towers was said to be magnificent.
The eastern tower was said to awaken Pokémon, while the western tower was where Pokémon were said to rest, similar to Hoenn's Cave of Origin and Mt. Pyre, respectively. Ho-Oh roosted at the top of the Bell Tower to the east.
However, about 150 years before the games' events, a lightning bolt struck the western tower. It was engulfed in flames that raged for three days. A sudden downpour finally put out the blaze, but it had already burned to the ground. Three nameless Pokémon perished in the fire, but Ho-Oh descended from the sky and resurrected them. The Pokémon are said to embody three powers: the lightning that struck the tower, the fire that burned it, and the rain that extinguished the fire. When the Pokémon appeared, they struck terror in those who saw their rise. The three Pokémon, knowing their own power, fled, running like the wind off into the grassland.
Bellchime Trail is a short path in Ecruteak City that joins the Barrier Station gate and the Bell Tower. It does not exist in Generation II as a separate location, instead being considered part of Ecruteak City's main area.
The tower first appeared in A Ghost of a Chance, where it was referred to as the Tin Tower by the dub, like in the English Generation II games. The importance of bells was made clear in For Ho-Oh the Bells Toll!. The tower holds four bells on each floor, which will only ring if Ho-Oh or Suicune is coming. In addition, the bells on the top floor are made of crystal and will only ring for Ho-Oh's appearance.
Neither of the towers have any relation to Lugia in this continuity. This tower was also built after the other tower had already burned. It is said that Ho-Oh would occasionally appear at the old tower as a sign of peace to a chosen few who were Morty's ancestors. However, several greedy people tried to take its power, burning down the original in the ensuing battle and forcing Ho-Oh to flee the tower. The people of Ecruteak City decided to make another tower in hope of Ho-Oh returning, though it never did.
The Bell Tower reappeared in Finding a Legend!. While investigating rumors of a Ho-Oh sighting in Ecruteak, which turned out to be false, Ash and Goh encountered a boy named Chad, who desperately wanted his grandfather Jaye to see Ho-Oh. With Goh's advice, they started climbing the tower, but they were caught in illusions created by a Misdreavus and a Stantler until Goh caught them. At the top of the tower, they started waving Jaye'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, Jaye managed to get a view of Ho-Oh flying in the distance, though the others didn't see it.
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Tin Tower first appears in Ampharos Amore. Having been caught up in an earthquake that struck Ecruteak City, Jasmine manages to climb to the top of the tower for her Ampharos, Amphy, to send out a distress signal, but passes out when rubble falls on her. Gold and Silver both see Amphy's light, but Silver reaches Jasmine first. The tower begins to collapse, and Amphy is able to carry Jasmine out before the collapse traps both Gold and Silver in. The two end up working together to find a way out, and are then surrounded by Team Rocket Grunts. After fending off the grunts and battling Gold himself, Silver tells Gold the reason behind the earthquake: that it would damage Tin Tower and catch the attention of Ho-Oh, which his enemy is after.
Fearing the wrath of Ho-Oh, Ecruteak's Gym Leader, Morty, ordered the reconstruction of Tin Tower before any other buildings in the city. Tin Tower was featured subsequently when Crystal climbed up the tower to face Suicune, and Ho-Oh itself returned to the area above the tower where the Masked Man awaited.
It is actually possible to use Dig to escape from the Bell Tower, except from the roof, and return to the entrance; this is because, as can be seen from the in-battle background used in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the Bell Tower is classified as a cave area, rather than a building, likely to allow wildPokémon to be found. This also applies to Sprout Tower and Burned Tower.
If the roof is counted as a floor, the Bell Tower in Generation IV is tied with the Silph Co. in having the most traversable floors in any building in the Pokémon world.
The Radio Director in Goldenrod City mentioned that there was a similar tower that once stood in Goldenrod Radio Tower's place in the past. The tower was also visited by the legendary Pokémon Ho-Oh which is evident by the Rainbow Wing that he found and kept. While it is not mentioned if this tower preceded the Bell Tower, the city shares its namesake with the game titles for which Ho-Oh acts as their mascot.
Ecruteak City's Bell Tower is likely based on a mixture of two temples in the real world city of Kyoto.
One of them is a Buddhist temple in Kyoto known as Ginkaku-ji. Unlike its counterpart, Kinkaku-ji, which is covered in gold leaf, this temple is not covered in silver leaf, though this was originally intended. A statue of avian likeness rest atop each of the two real world towers.
The other likely basis for the Bell Tower is a temple in Kyoto called Tō-ji (East Temple). The temple's pagoda is the tallest in Japan, and it once had a twin temple in the west of Kyoto, called Sai-ji. Just like in the legend of the Burned Tower in Ecruteak's west and the Bell Tower in its east, the western temple of Sai-ji was burned long ago, while To-ji still stands today.