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A Hello Kitty Tour Around Japan and Taiwan

by Valerie Insinna Mar 17, 2010
Break out your pink stilettos and Lady Gaga bows. It’s time for the Hello Kitty tour around Japan and Taiwan.
1. Sanrio Puroland — Tokyo, Japan

Like other character parks, Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo features shows with live actors in giant costumes singing and dancing to simple (some say annoying) songs. However, the kitchy aspects of the shows don’t keep them from being fun.

The Believe show stars not only Kitty and friends, but a group of talented acrobats in lavish costumes. A show about Kitty’s adventure’s in Oz is a collaboration between Sanrio and the staff of Japan’s famous Takarazuka Revue.

Besides the shows, there is a boat ride, a dance contest, and numerous “factories” where refreshments such as candy, ice cream, and juice are sold.

2. Sanrio Harmonyland — Oita city, on the island of Kyushu

If you wondered where all the rides were at Puroland, here’s your answer. This amusement park in Oita combines the cuteness of Sanrio characters with rides like carousels, ferris wheels, and roller coasters.

Like Puroland, there are live musical shows, parades, and night shows, but they are less lavish and varied in content.

There is also the “Kitty Castle,” where guests can have their photo taken with Kitty, who is dressed in a seasonal outfit.

3. Hello Kitty Sweets — Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwan is chock-full of Sanrio-themed attractions, including this licensed sweet shop in Taipei. You can’t miss it — the storefront features a giant portrait of Hello Kitty, and even the waitresses wear cat ears and pink outfits with aprons.

Most reviewers recommend reserving a table ahead of time, as the shop is usually busy and the cutest tables (with Hello Kitty-shaped booths) are given to visitors with reservations. Food here is somewhat overpriced (about $10 for dessert and $15-$20 for an entree), but desserts are beautifully presented.

From shortcake to tarts to tiramisu, everything has Hello Kitty’s head incorporated into it in some way. Even if you’re not a fan, you can take joy in eating her face off.

4. Grand Hi-Lai Hotel — Chienchin District, Taiwan

When you’re done eating Kitty, you can sleep with her. The Grand Hi-Lai Hotel has two different Hello Kitty accommodations available: a suite and a simpler room.

The luxurious (read expensive) suite features a Hello Kitty-shaped headboard and a Kitty tea set. The more basic room has two single beds and a desk furnished with Sanrio stationery. The bathroom’s mirrors are embossed with Hello Kitty’s face, making it the creepiest place to take a shower since the Bates Motel.

5. Hello Kitty Castle — Uni Resort Mawudu, Hsinchu, Taiwan

If Hello Kitty had a baby with Barbie’s dream house, it would look like the Hello Kitty Castle. The exterior of the bubblegum-pink two-story house is decorated with images of Kitty’s face, bows, and roses, and its windows are adorned with window boxes filled with red flowers.

It’s much the same inside: all the rooms are pink, with embellishments like plush magenta bows on the couches, carvings of Hello Kitty fitted onto cupboards, and a rug in the shape of a rose bloom. Despite many blogs reporting that the castle is located in Shanghai, it’s actually at the Uni Resort Mawudu in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

6. Hello Kitty Maternity Hospital — Yuanlin, Taiwan

At this point, one could guess that a Hello Kitty maternity hospital would use Hello Kitty blankets, require nurses to wear Hello Kitty scrubs, and give out Hello Kitty-adorned birth certificate covers. But why combine Sanrio’s most popular character with Cesarean sections to begin with?

In an interview with Rueters, the founder of the hospital said he wanted to make the experience of childbirth less frightening. Hopefully it works.

Sadly gone, but fondly remembered — Hello Kitty S&M Room in Osaka, Japan

The Hotel Adonis in Osaka was shut down in 2009, but evidence of the Hello Kitty S&M room lives on. Perhaps its closing was destiny, though, as the execution of the idea just couldn’t compare to what could have been.

Instead of a room filled with leather-clad, whip-holding Kitty plushies, Sanrio-character condoms and Charmmy Kitty blindfolds, the room simply had images of Kitty on the wall and Hello Kitty sheets on the bed. The leather restraints on the bed were not even adorned with a Hello Kitty bow — what a wasted opportunity. The Maternity Hospital was scarier.


For more offbeat tour ideas, check out these articles:

Igloos, Castles, Sewage Pipes, and Survival Pods: The World’s 10 Weirdest Hotels

Liberoachi, Voodoos, and Condiments: The World’s 10 Wackiest Museums

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