It is modeled after Japan's capital city of Tokyo and is the largest and one of the busiest cities in Kanto, being famous even in other regions. It is the tenth most populous city in the Pokémon world and one of the only cities in Kanto that has enough visible houses to accommodate its population in the games. The large Silph Co. headquarters building stands firm as the city's centerpiece while two Gyms dominate the north-eastern corner district. Not only is this the central business district of Kanto, it also holds the region's largest infrastructure, including the Magnet Train station, which allows ease of access between Kanto and Johto.
Shining, Golden Land of Commerce (Japanese: ヤマブキ きんいろ かがやきのいろYamabuki is the color of golden radiance.)
Shining Big City (Japanese: ひかり かがやく だいとかいShining big city)
The Silph Co. Head Office is the largest and tallest building in the city. Silph Co. are the leading manufacturer of Pokémon technology in the world, and produce a variety of goods for Trainers, such as the Poké Ball and the Silph Scope.
Their status makes them a target of Team Rocket, who orchestrated the takeover of their headquarters in Saffron City in order to obtain the Master Ball. However, the player successfully drives them out and the President of Silph gives the player the Master Ball for saving the company.
The Silph Co. Head Office is an eleven-floor skyscraper, and effectively a giant maze. The building contains a number of warp tiles, which must be used in order to reach different rooms. Some of Silph's doors require a Card Key to open.
The Fighting Dojo and the Saffron Gym once competed against each other to determine which one would be Saffron City's Gym. Due to the type advantage that the Saffron Gym's Psychic-type Pokémon had over the Dojo's Fighting-type Pokémon, Saffron Gym easily won and became the official Gym.
To board the train, the player must have a Pass. The Copycat in Saffron City has one and is willing to give it up as a reward for returning her the Poké Doll that Red gave to her three years before. Initially, the train is out of service as a minion of Team Rocket has stolen a valuable part from the Kanto Power Plant. After defeating him on Route 24, the player can retrieve the part from the Cerulean Gym and return it to the Power Plant. With the component back in place, the train will have the necessary power to run.
Mr. Psychic lives in a small house that is located on the southeastern side of the city, being better accessible by entering Saffron City from the southern entrance. He sits at a table in the middle of the room. When talked to for the first time in every game he is featured in, he will claim to know that the player really wants to receive a gift from him, giving the TM for Psychic to the player.
Between the events of Generations I and II, Copycat's house in Saffron City was torn down to make room for the Magnet Train station. Copycat and her family move to a house slightly south of the station.
Certain Pokémon will emerge from the elevator in the Silph Co. building and attack briefly, similar to Pokémon summoned from Poké Balls. Occasionally, Pidgey, Fearow, Butterfree, and Moltres will appear in the background.
During the game's intro, Pikachu can be seen rolling on a Poké Ball as a person walks by.
Ash and his friends returned to Saffron City in Haunter versus Kadabra, accompanied by a Haunter Ash had befriended. Unfortunately, Haunter preferred comedy over battling, and disappeared before the rematch. Ash managed to find Haunter again, but it disappeared yet again when Ash re-entered the Gym. To protect Ash, Pikachu faced Sabrina's Kadabra. After a while, Haunter appeared and made Sabrina laugh for the first time in years. As her Kadabra was rendered unable to battle by the laughter, Sabrina gave Ash the Marsh Badge and kept Haunter with her.
Later that day, Team Rocket managed to steal several of the Coordinators' Pokémon, but thanks to Harley and May, their scheme was foiled. The other day, when May went to register, the lady in the registration desk told her that she needed a Contest Pass from Kanto and that the deadline was 10 AM, and May realized that Harley had lied to her. Luckily for her, Lilian appeared and told the receptionist that if it were not for May rescuing the Coordinators' Pokémon, there would be no Pokémon Contest. After that, May received her Kanto Contest Pass and was registered in the Saffron Contest.
During the competition, which took place in A Hurdle for Squirtle, Harley used his Cacturne, Jessebella used her Cacnea, and May used her Combusken in the Performance Stage. The three of them were able to impress the Contest Judges enough to advance to the Battle Stage. There, Harley defeated Jessebella and quickly made his way to the final round, where he found himself up against May. Using his Ariados against her Squirtle, Harley held the upper hand for most of their battle, having lowered May's score considerably. However, Squirtle ended up knocking out Ariados, making May the winner of the Saffron City Pokémon Contest. This victory gave May the Saffron Ribbon, her first Kanto Ribbon.
In Pasta La Vista!, May and Brock decided to visit Saffron City's most famous noodle house, known for a dish called "battle noodles". However, the owner was soon called away to attend to business at the Fighting Dojo. Ash and Max met the Fighting Dojo's owner, Master Hamm, and soon caught up with May and Brock, who followed the noodle shop owner, Kyle, who is also Master Hamm's son. Eventually, the father and son came to an understanding, with Kyle returning to his noodle business while dojo student Terri agreed to takeover the dojo from Master Hamm.
Saffron City appeared in File 3: Giovanni. Soon after arriving at the city, Red encountered Blue, and together they saved a woman from being harassed by Team Rocket. The woman revealed herself to be the Silph Co.'s president's secretary, and told the two Trainers that Team Rocket had taken over the company, intending to steal the Master Ball they were developing. Wanting to free the Pokémon used in the development tests, Red stormed the Silph Co., releasing all the imprisoned Pokémon and Scientists inside. At the top floor, he encountered the Boss of Team Rocket, Giovanni. He had a battle against the criminal leader, but was easily defeated, and Giovanni got away.
Following the Silph Co. incident, Red challenged Sabrina to a Gym battle and defeated her, earning the Marsh Badge. Afterwards, he challenged the Karate Master at the Fighting Dojo and won, earning himself a Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan as a reward.
The Pokédex holders subsequently stormed Silph Co. and battled against the evil Gym Leaders serving for Team Rocket; Lt. Surge, Koga, and Sabrina, and the Legendary birds they controlled. With a device called the Badge Energy Amplifier, Green accidentally fused the three Legendary birds into one being, Thu-Fi-Zer. With their combined efforts, the three Pallet Town Trainers managed to defeat the creature and separate it back into its three original forms, which then fled.
During the Silph Co. battle, lower members of Team Rocket tried to escape the city, but were all caught by the Gym Leaders of Justice (Brock, Misty, and Erika) and their allies outside of the city gates.
Two years later in Ponyta Tale, Agatha was seen picking up the Badge Energy Amplifier from the ruins of Silph Co.
In the Pokémon Zensho manga
Satoshi arrives in Saffron City in the seventh chapter, Saffron City. With Sabrina's help, Satoshi defeated Giovanni, who had taken over the city and the Silph Co. office building. For his help, Satoshi earned the Marsh Badge.
The unused map of Saffron City from FireRed and LeafGreen
In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, if the overworld's collision data is bypassed in order to skip any of the gates surrounding the city, the player will access an alternate version of Saffron City, where all warps and events are absent. This is because the real Saffron City is not directly connected to its adjacent routes so the game loads a copy of the map that assures the continuity of the overworld.