Amusement Parks

9 Reasons Why the Hello Kitty Theme Park Is Worth the Trip to Japan

Last updated 22nd July 2019

When I told my 6-year-old daughter that we would be going on vacation to Tokyo, she was fairly nonplussed until I mentioned four words: “Hello Kitty Theme Park.” Suddenly, Lucy was jumping up and down and asking how soon when we were leaving. Granted, I fudged the truth a little bit. It isn’t technically called the Hello Kitty Theme Park. We were actually headed to Sanrio Puroland, aka Hello Kitty Land Tokyo, where Hello Kitty is the star of the show at a fanciful and fun destination that attracts two million visitors a year.

And, as we discovered, a visit to Sanrio Puroland is reason enough to plan a trip to Japan. Here are nine reasons why it’s so amazing.

1/9 You get up close and personal with Hello Kitty

In many theme parks, you need to work hard to meet and greet the characters. At Sanrio Puroland, guests can easily greet Hello Kitty at the photo booth in Lady Kitty House and buy shots from the onsite photographers. In 2019 — the 45th anniversary of Hello Kitty — Sanrio Puroland will give you a chance to spend even more one-on-one time with the iconic character. During a special greeting of Kitty 45, which Lucy and I got to experience, the first 20 people who visit Lady Kitty House get to experience hug time.

2/9 It’s an easy train ride

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Located in the Tokyo suburb of Tama, Sanrio Puroland is just 30 minutes by train from Shinjuku station. The train station itself is decorated with images of Hello Kitty and all her friends to get you into the mood before you even arrive. Sanrio Puroland is an easy 10-minute walk from the train station.

3/9 It’s weather-proof

Laura Begley Bloom

It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or bright sunshine. Sanrio Puroland is all-enclosed, so it’s a comfortable experience for kids any time of the year.

4/9 It’s not just Hello Kitty

Laura Begley Bloom

Even though Hello Kitty is the main attraction, all her Sanrio pals make appearances, too. Get ready to spend time with characters like the snuggly white rabbit My Melody, fun-loving doggie Cinnamoroll and Little Twin Stars. Check out the gentle, kid-friendly Sanrio Character Boat Ride, plus plenty of interactive digital games that you can take part in. What we loved: photo ops, galore.

5/9 There’s an awesome parade

Laura Begley Bloom

There are many highlights of a visit here, but one of the best is the Miracle Gift Parade that takes over the main floor. While you won’t understand a single word, it doesn’t matter. The costumes and colorful floats are over-the-top and the dancing is impressive, complete with Cirque du Soleil-style moves. Be sure to buy a Miracle♡Light, a glowing wand that is programmed to go with the show, so that you can participate fully.

6/9 The food!

Laura Begley Bloom

Bring your camera. The Japanese word for cute is kawaii, and the food is definitely too cute for words, with creations shaped like all the Sanrio characters. Just point to the cutest item on the menu, and get ready for an Instagram takeover.

7/9 The shopping is out of this world

Laura Begley Bloom

It doesn’t matter if you’re a massive fan of Hello Kitty or not — you’ll walk out with shopping bags galore. This is the best selection of Hello Kitty branded merchandise anywhere in the world. And whatever you can dream of, it’s here, from themed socks to baby clothes, you name it.

8/8 There’s kabuki. Yes, kabuki

Laura Begley Bloom

Some of Japan’s best kabuki actors star in the KAWAII KABUKI show, which combines serious theater techniques with Hello Kitty fun. Expect impressive theatrics, as well as a kimono-clad Hello Kitty playing the role of a kabuki theater director. There’s a translation app, so that you can follow along, but trust me — it’s just as much fun to skip the translation and soak in the scene.

9/9 You can sleep in Hello Kitty style, too

Courtesy of Keio Plaza Hotel Tama

Right near Sanrio Puroland is the Keio Plaza Hotel Tama, which has – you guessed it — Hello Kitty-themed rooms. The rooms are done up in Hello Kitty everything, from the wallpaper to the rug to the bathroom, with her signature on the mirror. And there are plenty of goodies to keep, including slippers, a writing set and more. It makes a visit to Sanrio Puroland complete.

by Laura Begley Bloom