To do: Add references, because we need a lot of them here.
Hocotate is the home planet of some of the leaders in the Pikmin franchise, particularly Captain Olimar and his family, as well as Louie. Life on planet Hocotate appears to be similar to that of Earth's, though with some key differences.
It is a red-coloured planet that possesses a pair of two intersecting planetary rings. Its exact location in the universe has yet to be specified, though it most likely takes place in a different star system from ours, as an incredibly bright star can be seen behind it. In Olimar's voyage log, he explains that his family is probably gazing up at the planet's "pale red moon". Stars are visible from the planet's surface during the daytime, indicating a transparent atmosphere.
From what can be seen, at least part of the planet is desert-like, though the President notes a location known as the "Hocotate Swamp". Hocotate Freight appears to be in or near a built-up area, which suggests that at least some of Hocotate may be densely populated. Olimar's wife mentions "hot springs" in one of her letters, indicating that geothermally heated water exists in the planet's crust. Olimar's family also mentions a beach, suggesting that the planet has at least one ocean.
The atmosphere of Hocotate is known to be different from PNF-404 and Koppai, as oxygen is known to be extremely poisonous to its dominant life form, the Hocotatian. The planet shows some signs of flora growing on its surface, including vegetables such as Pikpik carrots, which the planet is famous for, according to Brittany. Also according to the Koppaites, a Hocotatian's diet consists mainly of vegetables, although meat consumption is not unusual. It is unknown what gases are used to cultivate these foods. Bulbie, Olimar's pet, is known to be similar to a Bulborb, and its species take on a role similar to Earthling dogs. Olimar mentions that there are mosquitoes in one of his journal entries.
Hocotatians are apparently the dominant species of the planet Hocotate. They are referred to as "Hocotatians" in the Hocotate ship's announcement of the Massive Receptacle Series. They are about the size of a nickel (~2cm, ~0.7in), and appear to be more advanced than humans, and have superior, or at least equal intelligence. They are capable of efficient extraterrestrial exploration and interaction, and use devices far beyond the current technology of humans. Their primary means of communication is speech, and they are able to read and write. It's also possible that they may be related to the Koppaite because they share a similar appearance and speak the same language.
Hocotatians bare multiple resemblances to humans, including expressing human-like emotions. Physically, Hocotatians have a humanoid shape, the main difference being a larger head-to-body ratio, and having much larger noses. However, their eyes are very different compared to a human's eyes, in that their shape changes for showing emotions to accommodate their lack of eyebrows. In a "neutral" state, the pupil is heavily dilated, giving their eyes the appearance of being entirely black, which leads some people think they are actually closed. When surprised, the Hocotatian's pupils shrink and expose their irises, making them more closely resemble humans' eyes. This can be seen in a Pikmin 2 cutscene shown after completing the debt, and every time Olimar is hit in the Super Smash Bros. series. Their respiratory system also works differently from humans. While oxygen is one of the keys to human survival, it is incredibly toxic to the Hocotatians. Unfortunately, PNF-404's atmosphere contains high amounts of oxygen, thus prohibiting its exploration without the aid of spacesuits.
The technology is shown to be very advanced, with particles such as gluons in use (evidenced by the Gluon Drive ship part in Pikmin), a source of endless energy (the Eternal Fuel Dynamo), and a weapon that can destroy objects as large as stars (the Nova Blaster). Also, in Olimar's notes on the Common Glowcap, he mentions a chemical element called "Hocotatium 111", saying it is the reason for the plant's luminescence. However, Olimar's notes in Pikmin 2 strangely say that the technology behind a light bulb (the Stellar Orb) and a match (the Flame of Tomorrow) is completely unknown to his people.
Hocotate is shown to be commercialized; it makes use of the Poko, a small coin that resembles those from the Mario series. Items from the Pikmin Planet are considered extremely valuable treasures worth a particularly large amount of Pokos, which enables Olimar and Louie to pay off their company's debt of 10,100 Pokos. For comparison, 100 Pokos is "more than a year's salary". A Mayor of Hocotate is alluded in Olimar's notes on some occasions, though his status in Hocotatian government is unknown.
"Happy Hocotate Savings and Loan" is a Hocotate company with which the President attempts to take out a loan in Pikmin 2 to cover for the lost shipment of golden Pikpik carrots. It is later revealed in one of his letters to Olimar that, instead, he has accidentally taken out a loan with the company just next door, the "All-Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks", which forces him to go into hiding.
The name "Hocotate" actually comes from Nintendo of Japan's headquarter's address: 11-1, Kamitoba-hokotate-cho. It is pronounced as "Ho-ko-tah-teh", with "ho" as in "horse", "ko" as in "color", "tah" as in "tar", and "teh" as in "ten". To note however is that this pronunciation is arguably canon, given that it is never said canonically in English. The pronunciation can be heard in the following cases, with their reasons for doubt following:
- Palutena in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U says the planet's name in a guidance conversation in Palutena's Temple, but that game is not considered canon.
- Captain Charlie can be heard saying the planet's name in the ending cutscene of Pikmin 3, although the actual language heard being spoken by the characters is unknown.
- When Brittany collects the data file on the path to the Armored Mawdad, the word Hocotate can be heard among the Koppaite language while reacting to Olimar's journal entry. This falls under the same reason for doubt in the above statement.
- In Mission Mode, if the red team (Captain Olimar's team) is one-away from winning, Pikmin will be heard in the background cheering for Hocotate, although it is unknown how faithful Pikmin sounds are to the pronunciation of certain words.
- In a possible reference to urban Japan, a building resembling a capsule hotel is shown.[source needed]
- “I have a regrettable message. I have been caught. If I don't pay off the company debt right away, I'm to be buried in Hocotate Swamp. It's bleak here... Hurry!” – The President in a letter