Ilex Forest (Japanese: ウバメの森Ubame Forest) is a dense forest located in southern Johto, directly west of Azalea Town. The forest's trees are so close together that all light is blocked out, and in Generation II, the forest seems to be in a perpetual night.
There is a shrine for the guardian of the forest, Celebi. In Pokémon Crystal, if Kurt has already examined the GS Ball, placing it in the shrine will cause a level 30 Celebi to face the player. Though the GS Ball was never distributed as an event item outside of Japan, the Virtual Console release of Crystal allows it to be obtained in all regions through normal gameplay. In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the Shrine also may initiate a special event in which Celebi will take the player back in time and allow them to battle Giovanni.
Ilex Forest is a winding path through dense trees connecting Azalea Town and Route 34. Travelers can enter at either end with no trouble at all, but to pass through to the other side they must be able to use the move Cut outside of battle.
When the player enters the forest, the only way to proceed through the next section of the forest is to return runaway Farfetch'd for the charcoal maker's son, thus receiving HM01 (Cut) as a reward, allowing the player to clear the path from a cuttable tree. The Farfetch'd will run away and allow the player to return them after the player defeats the rival in Azalea Town.
In Generation II, the player needs to use the forest's layout to chase it back, using a looped path on the far eastern side, as well as a ledged area. In order to tactically return the runaway Farfetch'd to its owner, the player must corner it and lead it into the direction of the owner.
In Generation IV, there are two Farfetch'd and each needs to be approached while they are facing the other way. The player can do this by walking over sticks and, by doing so, causing them to rustle. This grabs the Farfetch'd's attention and, if no other sticks are rustled, may allow them to be approached from behind. Once the Farfetch'd are returned, the player will receive the HM01.
In the center of the forest is a man who, in Generation II, will hand out TM02 (Headbutt). Using Headbutt on one of the trees in the forest can sometimes yield a wild Pokémon, which Trainers may wish to capture.
In Generation IV, as Headbutt is no longer a TM, the man is instead a Move Tutor who will teach Headbutt for free an unlimited number of times. Now all trees in all locations can be Headbutted, but not all will yield a Pokémon.
The shrine is a small structure located in the Ilex Forest. It is used in obtaining two event-exclusive Pokémon. It can be found in the deepest part of Ilex Forest, situated right in the center of the forest itself.
Players of Japanese and Virtual Console versions of Pokémon Crystal can place the GS Ball on the shrine, to make a level 30 Celebi appear. The player then has the opportunity to capture the Psychic/Grass Pokémon. In the Virtual Console release, Celebi is guaranteed to have at least 5 perfect IVs.
In A Farfetch'd Tale, the group met a young charcoal-making apprentice named Sylvester and his disobedient Farfetch'd, who continued to run away from him. Ash and his friends helped Sylvester track Farfetch'd down, only to realize it had been kidnapped by Team Rocket. Sylvester and Farfetch'd went on to join forces to defeat the trio, and Sylvester then taught Farfetch'd how to use Cut. Brock was familiar with Ilex Forest's world-famous charcoal, and uses it for his cooking. After helping Sylvester, Brock received some charcoal from Sylvester's master (father in the English dub), the local charcoal maker Yosaku.
In Time After Time!, Goh was revealed to have visited Ilex Forest three years earlier, meeting a boy named Horace and looking for the Ilex Forest shrine together with him. However, when Horace didn't show up the next day to resume the search, Goh felt betrayed and thought Horace had lied about them being friends. In the present day, Goh revisited the forest while on holiday with his parents Camille and Walker in Azalea Town. There, he caught a Pineco and an Ariados and found his way to the shrine, where he discovered a letter left for him by Horace, in which he explained that he had been unable to meet him as promised due to him having caught a cold. Horace subsequently also appeared at the shrine, allowing the two boys to restore their childhood friendship in person.
Ilex Forest first appeared in You Ain't Nothin' But A Houndour, where a tree-cutter was doing his shift for the day. When Gold arrived at the forest, he saw the tree-cutter and his Farfetch'd unconscious. A mysterious voice then told Gold to stay away, before revealing itself as the Masked Man. Gold engaged in a battle with the Masked Man, and was about to be defeated when the Masked Man saw that the forest's shrine started to glow. However, the glow faded before the Masked Man could reach it, after which he left the forest.
Starting from The Last Battle VII, Ilex Forest became the setting of the climax of the chapter. Green entered the forest in order to find the shrine, only to be confronted by Will and Karen, whom the Masked Man had ordered to guard the shrine alongside Lugia and Ho-Oh. To Will and Karen's surprise, Green had managed to overcome her ornithophobia by catching the Legendary birds, which she sent out to battle Lugia and Ho-Oh. Meanwhile, Gold contronted the Masked Man as he was en route to the forest after stealing the recipe of the GS Ball from Kurt at the Indigo Plateau. During the battle, Gold managed to shatter his mask, revealing his true identity as Pryce of the Mahogany Gym. When Pika and Chuchu intervened in the battle, Gold was forced to give up fighting so he could protect the two Pikachu and their Egg. After Pryce had escaped, the Egg hatched in Gold's hands, revealing a Pichu, whom Gold nicknamedPibu and left with to pursue Pryce.
Meanwhile, Red and Blue arrived at the forest from underground and joined the battle on Green's side. They witnessed countless Pokémon, sent to the Azalea TownPokémon Center via the Pokémon Storage System, gathering to connect with Lugia and Ho-Oh, freeing them from the Masked Man's control. Yellow then also arrived, having been chased by Neo Team Rocket members all the way to the forest, followed by Crystal, who teleported to the forest with the help of the Legendary beasts. With Silver being present as well, the Pokédex holders of Kanto and Johto joined to battle against Pryce, who used puppets made of ice to hold them off while he caught Celebi as it emerged from the crack of time within the shrine and ordered it to transport him to the past. Riding the Legendary beasts, Gold, Silver, and Crystal pursued Pryce into the crack of time, where they found out that Pryce's plans as the Masked Man, including the establishment of Neo Team Rocket and the atrocities he and his underlings had committed, had all been in an effort to allow him to acquire Celebi and travel into the past to save his two Lapras, which had died in an accident before his eyes when he was younger. Using Pibu's "Super Rising Thunder" attack, Gold was able to destroy the GS Ball and set Celebi free. When Pryce started to hear the song "Boy and his Lapras", which his friends had made for him in his youth to cure him of his depression, and seeing the offspring of his two Lapras rejoining its parents in the past, he was finally able to let go of his anger, willingly leaving himself to float within the crack of time.
Following Pryce's defeat, the Pokédex holders reunited in Ilex Forest. Blue intended to bring Silver to the police due to his theft of Professor Elm's Totodile, but Gold, who had given the police false testimony regarding Silver's appearance, told him to let him go, since he didn't look anything like the person in the wanted poster. Gold subsequently departed with Red in order to train on Mt. Silver, while the other Pokédex holders returned to their everyday lives. Will and Karen, meanwhile, encountered Koga and Bruno, whom they joined as fellow people with experiences of having been on the wrong side of the law.
In a flashback in All About Arceus VII, Celebi was seen rescuing Pryce from the crack of time, only for him to be confronted by Giovanni the moment he exited the shrine. Since Pryce had been responsible for kidnapping Giovanni's son, Silver, years earlier, Giovanni attacked him on sight, but the situation was prevented escalating by the arrival of Lance, who had helped to organize Pryce's return. The reason for this was that, while floating in the crack of time, Pryce had foreseen a disaster that could destroy the Johto and Sinnohregions. Giovanni, who had come to the forest to seek Celebi's help in curing his long-time illness, ordered the Team Rocket Elite Trio to guard the forest and Celebi while he, Lance, and Pryce headed to the Sinjoh Ruins to stop the disaster from occuring.
In All About Arceus IX, the Team Rocket Elite Trio encountered Gold's Pibu and a spiky-eared Pichu, who were helping Celebi in gathering ingredients for Giovanni's medicine. Deeming the two Pokémon harmless, they resumed their patrol, only to be confronted by a group of Team Rocket Grunts, who had grown suspicious of their unexplained activity. When they spotted Celebi, they tried to capture it, but the trio helped Celebi to escape and told it to deliver the medicine to Giovanni at the Ruins of Alph.
The search for Farfetch'd commenced, with Gold's Pidgey and Whitney's Ditto soon locating it. Since they reached Farfetch'd simultaneously, Gold and Whitney decided to settle things with a battle. The battle between Gold's Bayleef and Whitney's Miltank was called off when it almost resulted in Whitney's Cleffa being buried under falling rubble. Whitney blamed herself of having put her own Pokémon's safety at risk and said that she had lost. Gold, however, declared that he was the true loser, as he considered his strategy and training skills inferior to hers. As such, Whitney then proceeded to claim Gold's Pikachu as her own, much to Gold's disagreement. Meanwhile, the Farfetch'd man was left alone, with Gold and Whitney having completely forgotten about their mission to return his Pokémon to him.
In the Generation II games, the Pokégear's map made it appear that a route existed between Azalea Town and Ilex Forest, even though this is not the case. This was corrected for the map in Generation IV.
"Ubame" comes from ウバメガシ ubamegashi, Ubame oak (Quercus phillyraeoides), a species of tree used to make binchōtan charcoal.
"Ilex" is the genus of holly. Considering its Japanese name, it may also be derived from Quercus ilex, the holm oak or holly oak, another tree commonly used in charcoal manufacture.