Traverse Town is a world in the Realm Between introduced in Kingdom Hearts, where it serves as the game's main hub. It is a unique world that consists of the remnants of worlds which have been lost to darkness, and serves as a haven to those whose worlds no longer exist in the Realm of Light. In order to serve as a new home, it is able to reshape its own layout to meet their needs. However, in all appearances it remains a quaint and calm town with a sky of unending night, in which stars can be clearly seen.
Settings and Areas
Traverse Town is similar to a Victorian-age town in terms of design and layout. It is divided into five major districts along with several minor locations such as alleyways and caves. Besides being created from fragments of destroyed worlds and serving as a home to those whose worlds have been destroyed by the Heartless, Traverse Town is also a great place to shop.
The First District (1番街, Ichiban Gai?) is the most peaceful of the three, without the presence of Heartless (with the exception of the first episode, where Heartless can even be found here after Sora searches for Riku and Kairi). The First District is where most survivors of the destroyed worlds can be found. The most notable locations include the Accessory Shop (アクセサリーショップ, Akusesarī Shoppu?) owned and managed by Cid, the Item Shop (アイテムショップ, Aitemu Shoppu?) run by Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and an Item Workshop (アイテムアトリエ, Aitemu Atorie?, lit. "Item Atelier") run by Moogles on the top floor of Cid's store. There is also a shop run by Cid after the keyhole of Traverse Town is locked; he sells Gummi Blocks near the gate to the Second District. There is a restaurant with magical self-lighting candles to the left of the town entrance, as well as Geppetto's House (ゼペットの家, Zepetto no Ie?), a green-doored apartment that Geppetto, Pinocchio, and Cleo move into after they escape from Monstro. The mailbox used in the Postcard hunt is also found here, close to the door leading into the Third District. Directly across from the accessory shop is a large set of double-doors which serve as the entrance to the town and can return the player to the world map to choose another world to travel to.
The Second District (2番街, Niban Gai?) is infested with a variety of Heartless. It includes the Gizmo Shop (からくり部屋, Karakuribeya?, lit. "Gizmo Room"), on whose roof a bell is eventually rung three times in order to reveal the world's Keyhole. Also present is the Dalmatians' House, where Pongo and Perdita have settled due to the destruction of their world. The house consists of the Dalmatians' Den (子犬たちの私室, Koinu-tachi no Shishitsu?, lit. "Puppies' Den"), the Living Room (子犬たちの居間, Koinu-tachi no Ima?, lit. "Puppies' Living Room"), the Dining Room (子犬たちの食堂, Koinu-tachi no Shokudō?, lit. "Puppies' Dining Hall"), and the Piano Room (子犬たちの客間, Koinu-tachi no Kyakuma?, lit. "Puppies' Parlor"). The Hotel (宿屋, Yadoya?, lit. "Inn") is on the west side of the district and is often invaded by Heartless, but can be entered through the Hallway (廊下, Rōka?); in addition, the Red Room (赤の間, Aka no Ma?) and Green Room (緑の間, Midori no Ma?) are located within the Hotel, where Sora, Donald, and Goofy are briefed by Leon and Aerith. The east side of town includes the entrance to the Third District, as well as a set of roofs that can be climbed to reach treasures and a hidden entrance to a balcony in the Third District. At the back of the Hotel lies the Alleyway (2番街：路地裏, Niban Gai: Rojiura?, lit. "Second District: Back Alley"); it has passages to the Dalmatians' House and the First District, and its drainage pipes lead to the Secret Waterway.
A sign shaped like the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland is also seen moving his hat up and down on top of a store, dealing with suits and dresses.
The Third District (3番街, Sanban Gai?) is a plaza also overrun with Heartless, but is the smallest of the three main districts. Notable areas include the Vacant House (空き家, Akiya?) next to the Second District's door, which Leon and his crew eventually claim as the Small House (小さな家, Chīsana Ie?), their headquarters. The most notable feature in this district is the golden fountain in the corner of the lower area, which depicts an image from Disney's 1955 film, Lady and the Tramp. Casting Thunder on the exposed cable wire raises the platforms in the Second District Gizmo Shop. Finally, a keyhole next to the giant door to First District can also be found and unlocked for faster access to that area. In another corner, a short alley leads to a door with a flame on it that goes to the Mystical House (不思議な館, Fushigina-kan?, lit. "Mysterious House"), and in turn the Magician's Study (魔法使いの書斎, Mahōtsukai no Shosai?) and Magician's Lab (魔法使いの実験室, Mahōtsukai no Jikkenshitsu?, also referred to as the "Zero District" by Merlin in Kingdom Hearts II), where Merlin and the Fairy Godmother take up residence. The book that serves as the entrance to 100 Acre Wood can also be found in the study. Below Merlin's house is the Secret Waterway (隠された水路, Kakusareta Suiro?, lit. "Hidden Waterway"), which serves as Leon's secret training ground, as well as a back entrance to the Alleyway.
Kingdom Hearts coded
Within the data representation of the town, the Keyhole itself is accessible, containing the 1st District, 2nd District, 3rd District and Terminus, which are placed in a linear formation.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream, Drop, Distance
The Fourth District (4番街, Yonban Gai?) is a shopping area infested with Dream Eaters. It is largely populated by Moogles, who run both the Medal Shop and the district's main feature, the Flick Rush Colosseum. The district also houses the entrance to the Fifth District, which is framed with red and white cubes and has handles shaped like the face of the Hockomonkey.
The district is embellished with many bright lights and decorations such as streamers. It houses multiple shops, including a Dream Eater shop which has a balloon in the shape of a paw hanging outside the door. The largest and most prominent feature within the district is a large tower similar to a lighthouse, to which various streamers are tied.
Just beyond the Fourth District is the Fountain Plaza (噴水広場, Funsui Hiroba?), wherein is a massive eponymous fountain. A wide alleyway leads to the Post Office (ポストオフィス, Posuto Ofisu?), a massive area filled with boxes and letters and many contraptions, both animated and still. A circular elevator in a small room of the Post Office leads up to the mailbox in the First District. A narrow but longer alleyway leads from the Fountain Plaza to the Back Streets (裏通り, Uradōri?), a twisting mass of streets interconnected by a long series of waterways. The back streets lead to a previously unseen door near the café in the First District.
The Fifth District (5番街, Goban Gai?) lies beyond the door in the Fourth District. The majority of the district is taken up by the Garden (植物園, Shokubutsu-en?, lit. "Botanical Garden"), which is filled with plants of varying varieties. The Garden is a large, three-floor greenhouse surrounded by a small waterway that can be entered by crossing a bridge to its front entrance, which holds a sign that reads "Flower & Plant." The surrounding alleys of the district are mainly empty.
Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts
Donald and Goofy first arrive in Traverse Town with Pluto on a mission given to them by King Mickey to look for Leon and the person who holds "the key". They arrive in Traverse Town at the same time that the destruction of Destiny Islands is taking place (a reference to this is made when Donald and Goofy see the world's star going out). Donald and Goofy continue searching for their objectives while Pluto finds a sleeping Sora in the alleyway of the First District. After being woken up by Pluto, Sora begins to wander around the Town, hoping to find his friends from the island. When he reaches the Second district, he sees a man lose his heart and become a Heartless. while exploring the world, Sora defeats many Heartless and he barely misses encountering Donald and Goofy several times as they independently explored the town. Eventually, Sora meets Leon, who challenges him in battle for the Keyblade. After the fight, Sora passes out from exhaustion, and Leon and Yuffie bring him to a room in the Hotel, while Aerith finds Donald and Goofy and brings them to a separate room. There, they independently explain about the Keyblade, the Heartless and they tell of the Ansem Reports.
Heartless attack the Hotel, and Leon and Sora take off to fend them off. Before going ahead, Leon tells Sora not to worry about the attacking Soldier and Shadow Heartless and to find their leader. As Sora enters the Third District, Donald and Goofy are blown off a balcony above by an attack from a Soldier and land on him, this is when Donald and Goofy first see the Keyblade and realize Sora is the person they are looking for. The three battle and defeat a battalion of Soldiers before the Guard Armor comes out, the trio beats this giant Heartless and Upon its defeat, Donald and Goofy explain their mission to find the Keyblade bearer, and they ask Sora to come with them, Sora is hesitate at first but when Leon tells Sora that going with them would provide the best chance to find his friends Sora agrees to accompany them on their journey. Before they leave, Leon and the others give Sora munny to spend in preparing for his journey, and Donald and Goofy teach Sora magic and Dodge Roll, respectively.
Sora returns to town with a Navi-G Piece that he got from Deep Jungle and asks Cid to install it in the Gummi Ship, while he delivers the 100 Acre Wood book to Merlin in exchange. While Delivering the book, Sora meets Merlin and the Fairy Godmother, the former helps Sora improve his magic and the latter shows Sora how to Summon. On the way back from Merlin's, Sora is briefly reunited with Riku, only for him to mysteriously vanish again shortly after. At a house in Traverse Town, Sora, Donald, and Goofy meet with Leon and company, who tells them about Maleficent and her forces of darkness. While Leon is warning them, Maleficent is actually watching outside with Riku and she slowly starts to turn him against Sora, saying Sora now values Donald and Goofy more than Riku and Kairi. Sora defeats the Guard Armor a second time and seals the world's Keyhole shortly after. Before leaving, Sora and the gang also encounter Pinocchio in the accessory shop.
After learning from Captain Hook that Riku took Kairi to Hollow Bastion, Sora, Donald, and Goofy return for their third visit so they can have Cid install a Navi-G Piece that would allow the trio to journey to Hollow Bastion. While waiting on Cid, Sora becomes slightly depressed at not being able to save Kairi on Hook's ship, and he asks Donald and Goofy how they can remain so cheerful despite not having seen any sign of their king throughout their journey. Donald and Goofy respond to his question by saying everything will be okay as long as they continue to believe in themselves, which manages to cheer Sora up. Sora then proceeds to see a vision from the past where Kairi's grandmother tells her the story of light and darkness, and she assures a young Kairi that even in the deepest darkness, there will always be a light to guide her. Sora wakes from the vision confused, but Cid returns with the news that the Gummi Ship is ready, so Sora, Donald, and Goofy depart for Hollow Bastion.
Sora returns for a fourth visit after saving Kairi from Hollow Bastion. After discussing it with Leon, Sora decides he has to go back to Hollow Bastion to save Riku and the other six Princesses of Heart as well as seal the Keyhole. Before he heads out, Sora has a conversation with Kairi in the Secret Waterway where he thanks Kairi for saving him when he was a Heartless. Kairi gives him a Wayfinder for luck and makes him promise to return it to her after he gets things fixed, which he agrees to. The powerful bond between Sora and Kairi that the Wayfinder represents gives it the power to act as a Keychain token for Sora's Keyblade, transforming it into the Oathkeeper.
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
While exploring the town, Sora, Donald, and Goofy encounter Leon, Yuffie, and Aerith, who do not remember them, but paradoxically know their names. Aerith speculates that their memories are resonating with Sora's.
Sora continues exploring the town, and he encounters Cid, who also recognizes Sora, but doesn't remember him. He tells Sora about the giant Heartless that appears when the Gizmo Shop bell rings. When the bell does after Cid leaves, the Guard Armor appears, and Sora fights and defeats it. After the battle, Sora says goodbye to the others, ready to continue on his way through the castle, but Aerith tells him that the town and its inhabitants are figments of Sora's mind, and that he should careful about trusting his memory.
Later, Riku explores the memory-based Traverse Town, but he only encounters the Guard Armor. He promptly defeats the Heartless and takes his leave.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Although Roxas never visits this world, he sometimes sees it in his dreams and flashbacks reliving Sora's memories.
Kingdom Hearts II
While Sora's memories are being restored, Roxas continues to dream of his memories from Traverse Town, including his meeting Leon, Yuffie, and Aerith, and teaming up with Donald and Goofy.
Although Sora does not visit this world during his second journey, Merlin claims that he retrieved Winnie the Pooh's storybook out of the town's Zero District.
Traverse Town is mentioned several times in the Secret Ansem Reports.
Kingdom Hearts coded
In the datascape, Data-Sora is sent to Traverse Town after debugging the Destiny Islands. He is woken up by Pluto in the First District, paralleling when the real-world Sora first arrived at the real town. Data-Sora finds the town overrun with Bug Blox and Heartless, and he is asked by Cid to search for Huey, Dewey, and Louie in the other districts. He finds them one by one, and each of them gives Sora a shiny object they found while exploring. Sora notices that the objects fit together to make an incomplete Keyhole.
While searching the town, Sora encounters the black-coated figure, and after he finds the last of the triplets, the figure gives him one last piece of the Keyhole. From the Disney Castle library, Mickey tells Sora that the Keyhole probably leads to the source of the bugs. Inside the Keyhole, Sora traverses a strange space filled with bugs and Heartless. At the end, he encounters a Guard Armor, fights, and defeats it, clearing the town of bugs.
After Sora debugs Traverse Town, a new power awakens inside of him. Meanwhile, in the castle library, a new message appears in Jiminy's Journal, that reads "There are more hurts than the one you have just undone."
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
In order to save the existences of his friends, Joshua takes the last remnants of their dreams and searches for a safe place for them. Traverse Town appears before him in the Realm of Dreams, and Rhyme's dreams open a portal to the town. Joshua is surprised to discover that dreams take physical form in that world, and he decides to try restoring his friends' existences by piecing their dreams together.
Sora and Riku arrive in the sleeping Traverse Town at the beginning of their Mark of Mastery exam, but they are separated into two separate, yet connected, iterations of the town. They meet the former Shibuya residents, who, despite being separated from their partners, continue to play the Reaper's Game. Neku and Joshua introduce Sora and Riku, respectively, to using Dream Eaters in battle.
On Riku's side, Beat encounters him and Joshua in the Second District, and he tries to make his Kooma Panda attack Joshua, to no avail. After Riku defeats the Dream Eater, Beat gives up, and he expresses his wish to protect Rhyme, just before Riku drops.
Sora begins searching the town for Neku, while looking for his partner, and he finds Rhyme in the Fourth District. Although she doesn't remember whose partner she is, Sora takes her with him to find Neku.
Riku sees Shiki being chased by Dream Eaters into the First District. He saves her, then agrees to accompany her through the town. They arrive in the Fifth District, where they encountered the hooded figure, who tells Riku he will wander in sleep forever. Beat arrives to take care of Shiki, and he tells Riku the hooded figure had told Shiki he could send her home if she brought him Riku. The mysterious youth reveals his face, then summons the Hockomonkey, which enters the Garden. The youth disappears in a Corridor of Darkness, and Riku follows the Hockomonkey into the Garden, leaving Beat to watch over Shiki.
Sora and Rhyme arrive in the Fifth District, where they find Neku on the roof of the Garden. Neku explains that the black-coated figure told him he could send Neku and his partner home, in exchange for Sora. Sora forgives Neku and asks if Rhyme is his partner. Even as Neku says no, Rhyme disappears. The mysterious youth appears and summons the Hockomonkey, before disappearing in a Dark Corridor. Sora defeats the Hockomonkey, and as it breaks into pieces overhead, images of Shiki and Riku appear. Joshua appears, having used Rhyme's portal to save her and move between two Traverse Towns. Joshua explains the nature of the town, including the two iterations, and he speculates that the world was split because of the figure in the black coat. Sora, Neku, and Rhyme watch the images of Riku, Shiki, and Beat.
In the meantime, Riku defeats the Hockomonkey, and when it breaks into pieces, he, Beat, and Shiki see images of Sora, Rhyme, Neku, and Joshua standing around in the middle of the district. Although Beat is frustrated that he can't touch Rhyme, Riku reassures him that they will reach each other as long as their hearts are connected.
Joshua talks to both Sora and Riku, across the separation between their two sides, explaining how he and his friends came to Traverse Town. He surprises them by sprouting wings and flying away, leaving them to lock the Traverse Town Keyhole.
By the time Sora and Riku return to the town, the partners are reunited. As Joshua explains to Sora, they continue to play the Reaper's Game in order to save themselves from being erased from existence and return to their home world. In their new mission, they must defeat the Spellican, which has the power to summon many Dream Eater minions. Joshua asks Sora if he and Riku can help them out with their mission, and Sora agrees readily and goes to assist Neku and Shiki in the Fountain Plaza. After Sora beats the Spellican's minions, it escapes to Riku's side. While Sora is meeting Shiki, Joshua arrives and tells them his plan to corner the Spellican in the Third District.
Joshua also meets up with Riku when he arrives in the First District. He tells him about the Players' new mission, adding that Sora is already helping them out, and asks Riku to help Beat and Rhyme in the Fountain Plaza. He also tells Riku about the time disparity between the two Traverse Towns, suggesting that the two worlds are somehow distinct from each other. Joshua notes that it implies that they are within a dream, and tells Riku that it could be very significant for him and Sora.
Riku finds Beat and Rhyme facing the Spellican, which becomes agitated when the three of them become wrapped up in introductions and banter between Beat and Rhyme. While the two Players take on the Spellican's summoned minions, Riku follows it into the Back Streets. It summons a herd of Cera Terrors to hold him off, but he defeats them, and Joshua points him towards the Third District.
When Riku, Beat, and Rhyme corner the Spellican in the Third District, it moves to Sora's side. Joshua warns Riku about trusting the dream he is in, and Riku locks the second Traverse Town Keyhole.
Sora arrives in the Third District just as the Spellican emerges. While Neku and Shiki take on the lesser minions, Sora fights and defeats the Hockomonkey, Wargoyle, and Char Clawbster the Spellican summons. With its minions beaten, the Spellican escapes the town through its Keyhole, but Sora promises to go after it in order to complete the Players' mission. Neku and Shiki invite Sora to visit them in Shibuya, and he locks the Keyhole.
Traverse Town is also mentioned by Ienzo while Lea is searching for Braig and Isa. Ienzo explains that if a person who has lost their heart is recompleted, they normally appear in the world where they lost their heart in the first place; if that world is destroyed or otherwise unavailable, they would appear in Traverse Town instead.
After Sora and Riku finish the Mark of Mastery exam, Sora returns to the sleeping Traverse Town, where he reunites with his Spirit Dream Eaters.
A fragmentary passage
While not visitable, Traverse Town is briefly shown with Donald and Goofy walking through it.
Notes and references
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