I recently visited Hello Kitty official amusement park called ‘Sanrio Puroland’, based on the company that owns the copyright as well as many other mascots: My Melody, Cinnamoroll, Badtz Maru, Kuromi, Jewelpet…
This theme park is located in the town of Tama, west of Tokyo. From Shinjuku, the largest train station in the capital, take a 45-minutes train to the west suburbs. Opened in 1990, Hello Kitty theme park welcomes 1.5 million visitors every year, making it one of the most visited parks in Japan with Tokyo Disney Sea, although it’s entirely indoors.
There are two types of tickets to enter Sanrio Puroland:
- admission ticket (adult price ¥3,000, about $37)
- passport (¥4,400, about $55) which entitles to attractions: walk on a rail, visit of Hello Kitty house, shows…
Upon entering, you can get the impression that the building is fairly small: the ground and first floors are devoted to Sanrio goodies store, as well as restaurants, cafes and cakes or ice cream stalls. Obviously, Hello Kitty is the most represented. But shopping is not reserved only for children, since there are also handbags, clothing for adults and of course Gotochi Kitty.
By the way, Hello Kitty is called ‘Kitty-chan’ in Japan.
Coming down to first basement, you get in a vast cavity that provides access to various thematic areas. This is the heart of Sanrio Puroland. Regularly, mascots of the brand come and a long queue is formed at an impressive speed to be able to say hello, hug them and take a picture.
Obviously the public on site consists of a majority of Japanese families with young children, especially girls. But we came across a few teenagers and even adults who came to spend the day or the afternoon!
Three times a day, Kitty-chan and her friends come perform a half hour show for children. I noticed the almost military organization of such a show. It portrays a princess who, to learn magic with Hello Kitty and others, must understand the importance of thanking and apologizing (even stronger concepts in Japanese society).
Here’s some footage I shot during this show :
For interested foreigners, the official website of Sanrio Puroland theme park is translated in English.