Hello, Kitty: A Day at Sanrio Puroland
Hello Kitty and Twitter: two of my favorite things. The two combined in wonderful ways last year when I entered a giveaway sponsored by @TimeOutTokyo for two passes to Sanrio Puroland and actually won! I rarely enter or win online contests, so this was a welcome surprise. I’ve been a huge fan of Sanrio characters (particularly Hello Kitty) since I was a child, and I’d been wanting to visit a Sanrio theme park for ages. Unfortunately, at $33-$38 per person, the tickets aren’t exactly cheap (though they’re really not extravagant compared to Tokyo Disneyland), so I had previously encountered trouble getting a group together to check this place out. Anyway, Time Out Tokyo solved all of my problems; with two free passes, it was easy to convince my friend April to accompany me to a major epicenter of Sanrio cuteness.
Puroland is an entirely indoor theme park, but it actually has a satisfying number of attractions. We went on a weekday in the summer, but the lines were long enough such that we had to strategize about which things we really wanted to see. Many of the shows and activities are geared toward a younger audience, so we decided to skip the various theaters and halls in favor of a couple of the rides and (relatively) more grown-up attractions.
A high priority for me was “Ladykittyhouse,” which as you might have guessed, is supposed to be the home of the famous Hello Kitty herself. It’s quite an impressive home, at that.
Would-be visitors have to wait in line and are let into the house in small groups of 10-15 people. The sign at the head of the line indicates that “This room is full of tricks,” which I interpreted to mean that the house was full of activities.
Upon entering, visitors stand in the entryway of Hello Kitty’s mansion. She welcomes you via video and tells you a little about her family history (which seems to be quite long, if you believe the various portraits of cats in period dress).
Part of the fun of Ladykittyhouse was just in the details of the decorations of the furniture. For example, I’ve always liked the classic red-and-white themed Kitty-chan products best. This little sitting room incorporates classic roses and bow themes. Look at the detail on the couch–see the little bows? Also, the various artistic interpretations of Hello Kitty added a lot of fun and style to the house. She’s such a versatile character!
My favorite reinterpreted piece of art was probably this portrait, which is a play on Claude Monet’s Woman with a Parasol, a painting of Madame Monet and her son. Of course, in the Sanrio version, it’s a painting of Hello Kitty and My Melody. It’s cheesy, but I would love to own something like this–but not for $500.
In Ladykittyhouse, things just happen periodically. For example, every 15 minutes or so, the doors below open, and a relatively large teddy bear inflates from emerges from the dark entryway. Upon seeing this photo, one of my friends said that it looked like “a large bear being worshipped by smaller bears.” And indeed, I don’t think I can necessarily offer a better interpretation of this shot.
But then again, who doesn’t love bears, right? And therefore, who doesn’t love couches inexplicably covered with dozens of stuffed bears? It was a little awkward to have to sit on top of some of them, but I got over it.
There were some other fun things that I don’t have room to show you here. For example, there were a couple of video installments where you would stand in front of a camera and then something fun (like a cute dress or some sweets) would appear around your image on a screen. And there was a photo opp with a person in a giant Hello Kitty suit (her head is just so big when she’s life-size!) Every little detail was just so well thought out–and and well, adorable. Even the wallpaper had tiny Hello Kitty unicorns on it for no specific reason. Of course, when you exited LadyKittyHouse, you were greeted with a gift shop–and more places to take cute photos, like this Hello Kitty carriage:
Of course, a person has to eat while they are at Sanrio Puroland. There are a couple of different cafeteria options and a few cafes. We chose the cafeteria-style restaurant, where the food was ok, but you also got to keep some of the cute containers.
The cafes, of course, were stocked with adorable nibbles like these donuts with Kitty-chan’s signature ear-bow:
There really were so many cute things, it’s impossible for me to post pictures of them all. This place would be a wonderful family destination for folks with Sanrio-obsessed children. But even for adults, it’s a pretty amusing time. Here’s a shot of me ringing the bell in the “Wishing Tree,” a large structure where you climb through what seem to be the passages of an enormous tree before you reach a shrine-like place where you can write your wishes on little slips of paper–and of course, ring the bell to ask Hello Kitty to help your dreams come true.
The other major ride we decided to wait in line for was Mymeroaddrive, a little excursion where you get into one of “Kuromi‘s Rent-A-Cars” and you spin and travel through the world of My Melody. The wait was pretty long; I think we had to stand in line for at least an hour.
I took a little video of the ride, so you can see the cuteness for yourself. I love the scene depicting My Melody’s birth!
There are 6 points in the ride at which cameras take commemorative photos of your journey. As you can guess by the commentary at several points in the video, my friend and I goofed and forgot to pose because we were way too busy filming the ride. :) But we managed to get it together for at least one shot:
Anyway, there were so many cute things that I really couldn’t possibly share all of them with you! But if this sort of thing appeals to you, I definitely recommend trying to visit Sanrio Puroland.
This isn’t the end of my Sanrio adventures. I still have the goal of visiting Sanrio Harmonyland in Kyushu one day, where they actually have real roller coasters! Can you imagine?
Do you love Hello Kitty? What do you think of Sanrio Puroland? Share your thoughts with me in the comment section!