Cute Characters Visiting Japan

Travelling on the Hello Kitty Shinkansen

Posted on May 13, 2024 by

Whilst in Japan I decided to pick up a regional rail pass for Kansai and Hiroshima. When I found out that the Hello Kitty Shinkansen was included, I knew I had to make a reservation and experience it for myself.

Hello Kitty Shinkansen

When the train arrives, you’ll know it right away! The exterior of the train is wrapped in a ribbon featuring her signature bow, in pink with touches of gold, from nose to tail. According to the website, this is supposed to represent the connection between different regions, which is a theme you’ll see throughout the train and merchandise too. At either end you can spot the Hello Kitty Shinkansen sign and images of her dotted about in a train conductor uniform.

The train runs once a day from Hakata to Shin-Osaka and vice versa (check the website for the timetable, because some days it doesn’t run at all) and anyone can buy a ticket ( for both reserved and non-reserved seating). With some rail passes it’s included, but if you want to book a seat then you’ll still have to make a reservation. You can travel along any part of it, so if you’re a Sanrio fan and the cost of a long journey on the shinkansen is too much for your budget, you can always just jump on for a couple of stops for a little taster.

Car number 2 is the only section that is themed to Hello Kitty and it’s non-reserved, and none of the reserved cars are themed. If it’s not a busy time of year, definitely try getting a seat in the non-reserved specially themed car, but if you don’t manage to then you can still walk through the train to see it and continue on to visit car number one which has the majority of the theming, plus merchandise and a photo op too.

Car number 2, where you can sit, is covered in polka dots and bows in shades of pink and each seat comes complete with a Hello Kitty headrest cover. At the front is a big statue (and fun photo spot) of Hello Kitty herself all dressed up in her train conductor attire alongside a map of the prefectures that the train passes through (plus two others that you can connect to from this shinkansen). Each prefecture has Hello Kitty dressed in a different colour holding an item that’s important to that prefecture, for example takoyaki for Osaka and momiji manju for Hiroshima. You can even pick up some merchandise featuring these different versions of Hello Kitty including mystery boxes and gachapon. Which leads me on to car number one…

Hello Kitty Shinkansen

Hello! Plaza is home to the Hello Kitty Shinkansen shop, gachapon, and photo op area. As you can imagine it’s bright, colourful and playful, just like Hello Kitty herself. Merchandise included plushies of Hello Kitty in her train conductor apparel, cushions, sweets and treats, pouches, model trains, mini towels, keyrings and stationery. They also had a gachapon machine which you could play to win one of the different prefecture designs on a mini drawstring bag. I managed to get Hyogo prefecture (home to Kobe) where she’s holding some bread, because they’re not just famous for beef you know!

At the front of the car is a big photo op space where a member of staff (also dressed in specially themed uniforms) has plushies and props to hold while you have a photo taken (with your own phone or camera). It’s absolutely free and definitely a fun way to remember the journey. They also have a free story card you can pick up and a little date display complete with Hello Kitty as another free photo background too.

Hello Kitty Shinkansen

While a lot of passengers on board might not give the Hello Kitty theming a second thought, for some, both young and older, it seemed to be an absolute highlight. I thought it was a fun experience and something a little different to my regular train journeys, so if you get the chance then I’d definitely recommend it. I’m not an avid Sanrio fan, but I really enjoyed myself!

You can find out more on the Hello Kitty Shinkansen website.

You Might Also Like...

No Comments

    Leave a Reply