Friday, July 13, 2012

In Which We Visit Hello Kitty!

Why Japan Is Awesome (Reason #50 Million):  Tokyo has a theme park entirely devoted to that super-cute, super-famous, and always super-friendly white cat...Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty's palace, complete with turrets at the corners.

 Yes.  You read that right.  On this planet, there is a place where you can go immerse yourself in more pink, sparkle, and bubbly cuteness than the average human mind can comprehend.  The theme park, officially known as Sanrio Puroland (I call it Hello Kitty Land...most Americans don't recognize Sanrio Puroland) is where Hello Kitty, her super-cute friends, and the rest of Sanrio's super-cute characters pull out all the stops! 

I Little TF had been dying to visit the Land of Kitty-chan (as Hello Kitty is referred to in Japanese) since we first heard of its existence.  We tried to take the MWR tour last year, but the Great Tohoku Earthquake happened and our Hello Kitty plans were put on hold.  This year, with my mom and youngest brother in town for a visit, we decided to try again.  MWR conveniently offered a tour at the same time (much to my brother's annoyance)!

Super-cute pass holders!  At 399 yen a piece, these saved us a lot of hassle.  Your pass has to be shown in order to access each attraction.  You'll be annoyed each time you have to pull a pass out of your pocket, or if you lose it!

A giant Kitty-chan welcomes her adoring fans!

After gaping at the building's exterior, purchasing our tickets, and buying a pass holder, we could hardly wait for what was inside. First up: a super-cute boat ride!  This gentle ride gave us such a cuteness overdose that our brains almost exploded. Hello Kitty, My Melody, Cinnamon, and the rest of Hello Kitty's friends were everywhere!

For a sense of scale, think "life-size."
I'm not sure what was louder- Little TF's squeals or the cute, peppy music!
Kitty-chan, herself!

The boat ride was the only true "ride" in Sanrio Puroland.  Most of the attractions are comprised of shows.  There seemed to be a show every fifteen minutes!

This show was up close and personal.  Lots of silliness, dancing, and (of course) more cuteness!

A little girl's birthday party!  Who doesn't want to have their party here?

While at Sanrio Puroland, don't forget to make a trip to the potty.  In fact, even if you don't have to go, make the trip anyways.  Cutest bathrooms, ever!

Bathroom signage.
It was tricky talking Little TF into leaving the bathroom stall.

After we rode the boat, watched a show, and used the potty, it was time for lunch.  The restaurant at which we ate was super geared towards kids.  Lots of carbs and cheese.  Even the Japanese food on offer was all fried.  Little TF was happy, but the food was just not that great.  You may be better off packing your own lunches (hmmmm...not sure if you could still use the restaurant seating, now that I think about it).

Of course, you should still pop in the restaurants! This is where
you can buy Hello Kitty bento boxes, water bottles, and treats!
Sanrio Puroland is not just for the younger crowd.  Plenty of young women were enjoying the cuteness, too!

After lunch, we packed in some more shows!  The cute, little Jewelpets gave an energetic, space-age performance.  No English in this show, but as Little TF is used to hearing nothing but Japanese when we go out, she wasn't bothered.  There was definitely enough dancing, singing, and sparkle to keep her attention!

The Jewelpets!

Of course, the BEST show was the Hello Kitty show.  Don't miss this one!  With a more complicated storyline than the other shows, this was also the only show dubbed in English.  I whispered the translation to Little TF, but she was too enraptured to listen.

Hello Kitty with her mama, papa, sister, and brother.  CUTE.

After a very cute retelling of The Wizard of Oz, starring Hello Kitty as Dorothy, the show ended with a massive, Hello Kitty spectacle. Little TF was transfixed.

Spanish Hello Kitty and...Spanish Hello Kitty.
Red Peacock Hello Kitty?

After we had our fill of shows and boat rides, we headed to the giant arcade room.  Little TF ran around and climbed on all the rides for awhile.  I took a breather and grabbed a drink from a ubiquitous vending machine.  It was a lot of Hello Kitty, even for me!

Tucked underneath the arcade is what I consider to be Sanrio Puroland's top must-see attraction, Hello Kitty's house.  Going inside was the pinnacle of Little TF's Hello Kitty joy.  I could hardly drag her out.  She climbed inside Hello Kitty's bathtub, jumped on her bed, and admired her closet full of clothes.  The attendants of this attraction strictly controlled how many people were allowed in one time, so there was plenty of room to see everything.

The foyer of Hello Kitty's House.

Of course, we couldn't leave Sanrio Puroland without doing a little bit of shopping!  Little TF picked out a Hello Kitty lunch box, while I snagged some Hello Kitty bento tools (Little TF will be so happy to open that lunch box and find Hello Kitty-shaped sandwiches).  If you're looking for that special Hello Kitty item, I'm sure it can be found in one of the many stores!

The shop just outside of Hello Kitty's House.
Bento lunch items, dishes, silverware, and more!
Stuffed Kitties galore!

If you have a little girl (or just yourself) who loves Hello Kitty, make sure to put a visit to Sanrio Puroland on your Tokyo sightseeing agenda!  It's still rainy season in Japan and now starting to get hot.  In Sanrio Puroland, you can beat the heat and the rain.  Prepare now for overwhelming amounts of cuteness!

If you are a military dependent living in Japan, inquire at your local MWR or base tour office about Sanrio Puroland's military discount (I'm not sure, but you may have to present the actual coupon to get the discount).  Until July 25, the discount prices an adult pass (usually 4400 yen) at only 2900 yen.  One coupon is valid for up to five people.  Children three years old and under are free!  

Sanrio Puroland is open on weekdays from 10:00-17:00, and on weekends/holidays from 10:00-18:00.  This being Japan, I would never recommend going on a weekend or holiday.  We went during a school day and avoided lines completely.  

You are not allowed to use your own strollers in Sanrio Puroland.  You can check your stroller for free at the information desk.  The park provides in-house strollers.  The information desk is also where you can purchase the super-cute pass holders.  Some attractions are not open the entire time.  Hello Kitty's House, for example, has specific open hours.  Make sure to check this out in advance, so that you don't miss out on something you have to see!

Sanrio Puroland is a five minute walk from Keio Tama Center Station.  If you are traveling from Tokyo, catch a train out of Shinjuku Station via the Keio Line, towards Hashimoto.  Get off at Keio Tama Center.

Disclaimer:  I do my best to make sure all my information is accurate.  However, details may change or I may just be flat-out wrong.  Please let me know if something needs a correction.  Thank-you!


  1. Replies
    1. Don't pity him too much. He got me back by making me climb Mt. Fuji with him. I DEFINITELY got the worse end of the deal! =)

  2. I hope I have a daughter to share things like this.

  3. I SO want to go! Luke would never be okay going, and since I have a little boy....I don't know if I will ever get an excuse to go. :)