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La Carmina’s Guide to Hello Kitty Attractions in Japan

I’ve been a Hello Kitty fan since childhood. I remember visiting Tokyo in the 1990s and being captivated by the Sanrio stores filled with cute character goods. Today, Hello Kitty is more popular than ever – and you can even plan an entire visit to Japan around the famous “kawaii” cat.

Hello Kitty made her debut in 1974 and quickly became the most recognizable Japanese mascot worldwide. These days, you can find Sanrio shops all throughout Japan as well as Kitty-themed hotel rooms, cafes, theme parks, and even trains and planes. 

I remain nostalgic for Hello Kitty and continue to seek out her stores and attractions when I’m in Japan. From Oita amusement parks to Hokkaido cafes, here’s how to get your Hello Kitty fix on your next trip.

Hello Kitty Theme Parks

Japan’s beloved cat character has several amusement parks in Japan. Tokyo’s indoor Puroland lets you enter the cute and colorful world of Hello Kitty and friends: snap photos with Kuromi, eat curry shaped like Cinnamonroll, hop onto rides, and watch frenetic stage performances by life-sized characters. (If you’re a super-fan, you can even get married at Puroland!) 

Sanrio also has a larger outdoor amusement park in Oita called Harmonyland, complete with a Ferris wheel and moving teacups stamped with Kitty’s face. Furthermore, you can buy merch and board her Cupcake Dream ride at Universal Studios in Osaka.

Hello Kitty Airplanes and Bullet Trains 

If you’re in Taipei, you can board a Hello Kitty themed plane to Japan. EVA Air’s fleet of Hello Kitty jets fly to Tokyo, Sapporo, and Fukuoka. The staff wears Kitty aprons, and her pink bowed head decorates everything from the seats to the food and tickets. 

Japan’s rail network also has a pink and white shinkansen themed around Hello Kitty. This special JR bullet train runs from Shin-Osaka to Hakata and includes stops in Kobe, Okayama, and Hiroshima. Guests can pose with statues of the cat (dressed as a train conductor), watch cartoons, and shop for regional foods as they ride the rails.     

Hello Kitty Hotels 

Fans of Hello Kitty can stay in hotels throughout Japan dedicated to her likeness. In Tokyo, you can book one of several rainbow-hued rooms at Keio Plaza Tama, or stay in traditional tatami meets Hello Kitty accommodations at Asakusa Tobu. There are also Sanrio-themed rooms at Hotel Ole in Shizuoka, Resi Stay in Kyoto, Hotel Vischio in Amagasaki, and Hotel Okinawa with Sanrio Characters in Naha. Hardcore fans can even go glamping with Kitty at Awaji’s Hotel Grand Chariot, which offers round cabin filled with her plush toys. 

Sanrio Cafes and Restaurants 

Theme restaurants are trendy throughout Japan, and Hello Kitty’s cafes are among the most popular. At Tokyo’s Sanrio Cafe Ikebukuro, you can munch on Hello Kitty-faced roll cakes and crepes, and drink lattes decorated with her image while surrounded by all things cute and pink. For more themed dining, try Ueno’s Sanrio Characters Garden Café, Sakurajima’s Hello Kitty’s Corner Café, Hokkaido’s Otaru Café, and Kamakura’s Sanrio Café.

Hello Kitty Shopping 

For Hello Kitty lovers, Japan is a shopping paradise. Tokyo has the highest concentration of Sanrio stores such as Gift Gate, but you can easily find Hello Kitty goods all over the country. Many of the boutiques have giant statues or quirky architecture, such as the Asakusa Gift Gate that looks like Kitty holding an apple. 

Look for limited edition regional goods, such as Kitty wearing a kimono in Kyoto. However, you can find her face on products ranging from 100 yen keychains to 100,000 yen designer bags. From homewares to nail art, clothing, and toys, Japan has it all when it comes to Hello Kitty merchandise. 


Written by La Carmina – LaCarmina.com – All photos credit to La Carmina

*The opinions expressed in the above article do not reflect the views of JNTO. All content and images are property of the writer unless otherwise specified.


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