Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sanrio Puroland: Mecca for Hello Kitty Lovers

Sanrio Puroland is an indoor theme park located in Tama New Town, Tokyo. Opened by the Sanrio company in 1990 and focused around Sanrio characters such as Hello Kitty, My Melody, Keroppi, and Badtz Maru, the park features musical stage shows, rides, costumed character sightings, dining, gift shops, a daily parade, and more!

When I decided to visit Japan, I knew that Sanrio Puroland was going to be a mandatory stop on my already packed itinerary. On a rare free day in Tokyo, armed with a map and directions from my tour guide, I boarded a bus from our hotel to the train station. When I arrived at the terminal, I saw a Hello Kitty bus parked out front. A good omen!





From the train station, I had to take two trains to Puroland. The trip would take a little over an hour. I don't speak Japanese, but luckily my map was in both English and Japanese, and kind passerbys were able to confirm I was heading in the right direction.

When I arrived at the final stop, Puroland was about a 5 minute walk away. I knew I was in the right place because I immediately started seeing these signs:



Suddenly, I turned a corner..and there it was!

Getting closer..

Almost there!

After purchasing my passport level admission ticket (4,100 yen, using the coupon I found online), I hit the little kitties room before beginning my adventure.

Several characters were hanging around the main entrance for meet-and-greets. I got a picture with Kuromi and Hello Kitty!

I made it!

The park itself is not that large, and has seven main areas: 1. Marchen Theater, 2. Entertainment Hall, 3. Fairyland Theater, 4. Sanrio Character Boat Ride, 5. Discovery Theater, 6. The Time Machine of Dreams, and 7. Kitty's House. All of the attractions are centered around the The Wisdom Tree Stage.

First stop: Sanrio Character Boatride! This is esentially the only "ride" in the park (The Time Machine of Dreams is also a ride, but it is not Sanrio character based). In the spirit of Disney's It's A Small World, this leisurely attraction offers a boat ride through the magical world of Sanrio. The official story is that everyone is preparing for a party at the Kitty Castle, but I didn't know that until I got home and was reading the description on the website. It's an aural and visual assauIt of cuteness. There are bright colors, glitter, sweet smells, and tons of characters. I went on it two or three times just to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Cinnamoroll

My Melody

Monkichi

Purin - You could smell him baking!

The Kitty Family

After the boat ride, I headed over to Kitty's House, where you are able to walk through of a life-sized house belonging to Hello Kitty. There is a foyer, bedroom and bathroom, dining room area, and library. She even has her very own cat car parked out front (isn't she too young to drive?). Despite appearances, the house is only one floor. At the end of the tour, a friendly castmember takes your picture (on your own camera, or with theirs so you can purchase it) with Hello Kitty. Such a gracious hostess!

Her cat bed was smaller than I thought it would be.

After taking in two attractions, I decided to try and see a few shows, which seem to be the main draw at the park. I saw that Someday III - To the World of Light was about to start in Fairyland Theater so I quickly ran to get a seat. Though the entire show was in Japanese, it was a spectacular lights and laser production starring My Melody, Kuririn, and a cast of their real life fairy friends.

Afterwards, I headed over to Marchen Theater to see Hello Kitty in the Magical Land of Oz. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed in either of the shows.

After the shows were over, I still had some time before the parade started, so I climbed up the Wisdom Tree to ring Hello Kitty's Bell of Happiness.

There is a parade that takes place daily around the Wisdom Tree at 2:00 pm (check the website for updated times). Believe, the 30-minute extravaganza, features everything from music and acrobatics, to floats and Princess Hello Kitty descending from the sky, her dress adorned with LED lights.






Although Puroland is small, visiting it was a unique and fun experience that I will never forget. If you ever find yourself in Japan, I definitely recommend a trip there for any die-hard Hello Kitty/Sanrio fan!

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4 comments:

olivia said...

Hi! I would like to ask what time does the Believe parade starts? And if it is the same time everyday? Thanks in advance:)

catsparella said...

Hi, thanks for stopping by! I'm *pretty* sure they have it at 2:00PM every day!

Anonymous said...

I have always loved Hello Kitty ever since I was a pre-schooler. I was born 1 year after Hello Kitty was born (so you have an idea now what’s my age). The child in me wants to go to Puroland. There is another Sanrio theme park in Japan called Harmonyland. Have you been there too? If so, which is better and what are the differences? What travel agency did you go to? Any recommendations?

Catsparella said...

I'm not sure if Harmonyland was open yet when I was in Japan. I *think* that one is more of a store, while Puroland is more of a theme park with attractions and (a few) rides. I was in Japan for 2.5-3 weeks on a tour, and went to Puroland on my own during a free day we had in Tokyo. I used Overseas Adventure Travel, and would rec. it!

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