Kakariko Village is one of the most prominent towns featured in many Zelda games. Hyrule Castle is usually the more bustling and central hub of the world, but I often find myself preferring Kakariko Village, and I reckon most Zelda fans feel similar.

I think this is because it aims for a friendly, down-to-earth culture that represents the average Hyrulian citizen. It shows exactly who you’re protecting by becoming Hyrule’s hero, which gives greater meaning to your quest. But even more than that, it adds depth to the world by giving a glimpse into the day-to-day life of its population.

This is particularly true in Breath of the Wild’s iteration of Kakariko Village, which shows us a humble village that thrives even after the events of the Great Calamity.

Tingle’s Maps is a series in which we explore the endless lands of Hyrule in search of our favorite places in The Legend of Zelda. We’ll explore everywhere: the beautiful landscapes that make us put down the controller in awe; the deadly terrain that threatens Link with the harshest of elements; the bustling towns that bring the game to life; and the abandoned grounds that evoke peace and sadness. As well as the grand locales, we’ll also discover all the secret caves and hidden crevices that lie between. Let’s adventure!

I remember clear as day the moment I discovered Kakariko Village. I’d just defeated a Guardian in the field nearby and found a pass between the surrounding cliffs. With my curiosity leading the way, I continued exploring until I approached a wooden frame which was decorated with drapings and fabric hangings that displayed Sheikah symbols.

Kakariko Village entrance

As the wind blew through these hangings and the surrounding grass, I quickly realized where I was. After all, I already knew Kakariko Village was my next destination, and I’d learned from playing other Zelda games that the Sheikah were connected to Kakariko Village. My excitement took hold of the controller: Link sprinted through the pass as fast possible until the village appeared in front of me.

The last version of Kakariko Village I’d seen in a 3D Zelda game was Twilight Princess’s version, and that was an uninteresting, barren wasteland in my opinion. I know that was the intention, but it lacked the same charm as its predecessors. So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered this beautiful, rustic village in Breath of the Wild. It was the first proper town I’d seen in the game, and I was simply blown away by its simplicity yet intricacy (allow me to explain this juxtaposition).

Kakariko Village shop

It must have only a dozen or so occupants, but it’s bustling with life. It has quaint homes, small shops, simple agriculture, and a connection to Hyrule’s religion with the Goddess Statue in the heart of the village. With all this, you get the sense that the village truly has everything it needs. As Link, I could quite happily spend the rest of my days here. I especially love how enclosed and secluded it is. It feels like you’ve stumbled upon somewhere special, out of the eyes of the rest of the world.

I soaked up every inch of the village I could during my first visit, talking to every man, woman, and child I could find. Speaking of which, the first child I came across (who is adorable by the way) prompted me to start a little side quest: Koko’s Kitchen. Koko shared my affinity for cooking and needed help with gathering and preparing ingredients, so I helped her get what she needed and we made a bunch of meals together. This was such an adorable and memorable moment to me and is a brilliant example of how to breathe life and personality into a world’s characters.

Kakariko Village Koko

As I continued to explore the village, it bathed me in its calming atmosphere. The surrounding trees, grass, and wooden chimes danced in the wind, while the unfamiliar tune captured the sound of a feudal Japanese village beautifully. I was a little disappointed by the lack of the classic Kakariko Village theme, but I was so enthralled by the rest of its atmosphere that it didn’t matter to me. Even now, I’m not too bothered that they chose to reinvent it. The events of Breath of the Wild took place so far in the future from the previous games that it made sense for locations to have similarities to older iterations yet be mostly their own distinct versions. This was a different Hyrule than what we were used to.

Aside from its atmosphere, Kakariko Village has so much value and significance as a town in Breath of the Wild, both in terms of its connection to the story and the resources it provides.

Kakariko Village Impa

In terms of its story, Link must regularly return here to talk with the village elder, Impa, who guides you on your quest to revive the Divine Beasts and save Zelda. She also provides you with lore on the history of Hyrule and the Great Calamity, which adds context to why the world is just now getting back on its feet and why it needs a hero to pick up the pieces. Knowing this helps you better understand how the Great Calamity affected everyone, which you continue to learn about by talking to people across Hyrule.

In terms of its resources, I remember constantly warping to Kakariko village to rest, restock, gather ingredients, and use the Great Fairy Fountain in the nearby wooded area. Aside from Hateno Village and Gerudo Town (my absolute favorite place), it always felt like a great location to take a breather from exploration and do some inventory and equipment management. You can stock up on arrows, gather ingredients for food (including pumpkins, which make an excellent defense-based meal), spend your Spirit Orbs, and upgrade your armor with the Great Fairy Fountain.

Kakariko Village pumpkins

Funny story about the Great Fairy, actually! I don’t know if anyone else experienced this or if I was just being extremely clueless, but here goes. When a character in the game told me there was a Great Fairy near Kakariko Village, it immediately spurred me to hunt for her. However, I had no idea what I was looking for and I thought it’d be hidden somewhere. Was it like previous Zelda games where she’d be inside a hole or a cliff opening or something? I spent at least an hour or more exploring the surrounding clifftops around Kakariko village, desperately trying to spot something that I thought looked like a Great Fairy Fountain, but I made little progress. On the plus side, I mined a lot of ore and found a few sneaky Koroks.

It wasn’t until I reached an excellent vantage point overlooking the village that I saw what looked like a giant flower. I immediately leapt toward it, letting my glider carry me through the air. I felt pretty dumb when I realized this was the Great Fairy Fountain. It was literally a stone’s throw away from the village and there was a direct path from the shrine to it, but no harm done, I suppose! I got there in the end.

Kakariko Village Great Fairy

When I finally approached the shrine and summoned the Great Fairy, I was simultaneously amused and amazed when this beautiful, giant woman emerged from the pool of water to greet Link. I’ve always loved the Great Fairy designs, so I was pleased to see this new yet wonderful look. It was also the first time I realized that Great Fairy Fountains allowed me to upgrade armor and often have tons of valuable ingredients around them. This one, in particular, has a few Endura Carrots dotted about, which are usually pretty hard to find and make some great meals, including Carrot Cake (my favorite cake in real life!).

All in all, Kakariko Village has so much personality, beauty, and value in Breath of the Wild. I’m glad they chose to honor past versions by keeping its name, yet also gave it its own identity. If I could visit it in real life, it’d be a very hard place to leave.