Sanrio Puroland is an all-indoor theme park located in Tama City, Tokyo, and is dedicated to Sanrio’s most well-known character and her friends: Hello Kitty. Home to all things “kawaii,” Sanrio Puroland boasts rides, entertainment, shopping, games, and restaurants. It’s a great amusement park for young girls and big fans of Hello Kitty and Friends.
Who is Hello Kitty? Her full name is Kitty White and she personifies a Japanese bobtail cat and a human. Initially known as the “white kitten with no name,” Hello Kitty is known to wear a red bow on her left ear. She’s a bright and kind-hearted girl that loves to bake. Sanrio’s ambassador to the world, Hello Kitty is the symbol of friendship. She does not have a mouth because she speaks from the heart and isn't bound to any particular language.
Sanrio has a large line-up of characters that mostly appeals to young girls, but they also own the rights to both the “Peanuts” and “Mr. Men” characters in Japan to broaden their market. Nevertheless, Sanrio Puroland attracts 1.5 million visitors a year, many of them from overseas and huge fans of Hello Kitty and Friends.
Sanrio Puroland is just a 5-minute walk along Hello Kitty Street from Keio Tama Center station. Opening hours are usually 10:00am daily. During weekdays, closing time is 5:00pm, so you’ll want to plan your day according to show times listed on the brochure and the wait times posted at rides.
My visit was based on an Afternoon Passport for ¥2,000 with an entry time of 2:00pm. It was a substantial discount that I downloaded from their website, but it required a lot of time on my feet to ensure the most was seen within a 3-hour timeframe.
The first order of business was to get in line for the Sanrio Character Boat Ride on 2F. Similar to ‘It’s a Small World’ ride at Disney theme parks, I highly recommend it to all visitors. Hello Kitty is throwing a party and has sent out invitations to all of her closest friends. So, throughout the boat ride you’ll pass through homes of several Sanrio characters like My Melody’s sewing room, Little Twin Stars playground, Kerroppi's pond, Badtz Maru's cave, and Cinnamoroll’s café. The best part about this ride is that the river runs inside and out of the theme park, so it’s a great overview of all the kawaii things to come. Be sure to smile at the end of the ride for a photo opportunity!
The highlight of the park is walking through Lady Kitty House on 2F of SANRIOTOWN. Here you will tour Hello Kitty’s house starting with a grand entrance of the spiral staircase and her baby grand piano. A short introduction video will play in Japanese with English subtitles. Then proceed to step up on the balcony to see her amazing view of the theme park, lounge on the teddy bear couches, or try napping in her bedroom and look up to find her television. The end of this tour includes a commemorative photo for ¥1,600.
Other notable attractions in SANRIOTOWN are the Mymeroaddrive (My Melody ride), Twinklingtour, and the Character Food Court. Also, be sure to stop by all of the souvenir shops as each specializes in different Sanrio characters.
There are three theaters that present different types of entertainment. At the Discovery Center, I was able to watch the Jewelpets and friends dance and sing, and the audience was able to interact by using the portable electronic devices provided before the show. Although completely in Japanese, just watch the crowd and catch on!
Before the night ended, Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel (her childhood friend) will perform at The Wisdom Tree. Arrive early to secure a seat with a good view. The light show includes rainbows and twinkling skies, and of course a sweet dance and greeting from Kitty and Daniel.