Warning: this article is strictly for Sanrio Hello Kitty fans. If you’re not a fan of the pink kitty, then you’ll probably feel a bit alienated. However, if you are, get out of that closet, put on your pink stilettos, and wear that cute Lady Gaga bow. We’re going to Taiwan and Japan.
Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo, Japan
Whether you’re taking your little girl for a treat, or you’re trying to relive your childhood, Sanrio Puroland is the place to go for the ultimate Hello Kitty experience. This is one of the biggest theme parks in Japan, and is visited by kids, teenagers, parents, and even people just enjoying their retirement money. The Sanrio Puroland tapped into a pretty big market in Japan.
They have live actors here, too, all wearing enormous Sanrio costumes. Even if you don’t know the Japanese language, you’ll understand that they’re dancing and singing to some kiddy theme song which can be rather annoying if you’re not Sanrio’s biggest fan. No matter how kitschy the show may be, though, it’s considerably enjoyable. Tokyo is known for its neon light shows, and the Puroland certainly doesn’t skimp on that.
Your child (or you, in your child-zone) would love the Believe show. Aside from Hello Kitty, who is obviously the Mickey Mouse of this whole she-bang, you’ll also be kept entertained by a talented group of acrobats all in costume. Believe is basically about the Oz adventure of Hello Kitty. This is a collaborative effort between the Sanrio staff and the Takarazuka Revue.
Aside from the show, you (and your child) will be treated to a boatride, taken to “factories” where they sell souvenirs, candy, and refreshments, and watch dance contests.
Sanrio Harmonyland in Oita City, Kyushu, Japan
As if the Puroland in Tokyo isn’t enough, Sanrio conquered the quiet island of Kyushu as well. In Oita City, you’re not just entertained by cute Sanrio characters, but treated to big rides as well. This resembles Disneyland more, and will probably cater to a greater number of people, not just hardcore Sanrio fans. There are roller coasters, ferris wheels, and carousels here, so you’ll never run out of things to do, unless this is your nth visit.
As in Puroland, you’ll also get musical shows, night shows, and parades in this Sanrio theme park. They’re not as excessive, though. Puroland really tops the list when it comes to Hello Kitty live shows.
You can also have your photo taken at the Kitty Castle with your beloved pink-clad kitten who’ll be dressed aptly for the season.
Hello Kitty Sweets in Taipei, Taiwan
Aside from Japan, Taiwan is also one of the biggest fans of the great pink kitty. The country is just swarming with Hello Kitty shops, but few of them are licensed. If you want the real deal, you should visit the Hello Kitty Sweets in Taipei. You won’t be able to miss the store even if you try. The façade of the store is a huge Hello Kitty portrait, and all the waitresses wear pink uniforms, aprons, and cat ears.
If you’re from the west and the concept seems odd to you, you’ll be surprised—you need to reserve a table before you come to the place. It’s almost always brimming with customers. Only guests with reservations can sit at the cute Hello Kitty table, so if your child is a big fan, you better start dialing the restaurant’s number now.
While the desserts are meticulously prepared (they look almost like artworks), the food is also expensive. To give you an idea, dessert costs around $10, and the entrees cost between $15 and $20 each. For someone with a sweet tooth and who has a special fondness for Hello Kitty, a tiramisu shaped like the pink-clad kitten’s head is well worth the hefty price.
Grand Hai Lai Hotel in Chien Chin District, Taiwan
You haven’t had enough of Hello Kitty when you watched her live shows, rode her roller coaster, and ate her kitty head-shaped tiramisu? Then you’ll probably want to book a night at the Grand Hai Lai Hotel in Taiwan. This Chien Chin District hotel is the ultimate lodging for total Hello Kitty fans. There’s a catch, though—there are only two Hello Kitty inspired rooms in the building. You’ll have to book your stay in advance.
One Hello Kitty room is a suite, and the other, a simpler room with cheaper rates. The suite has an expensive bed with a kitty-shaped headboard. It also has a Hello Kitty tea set, which is just as pricey. The simpler room has two beds, both single, and a desk filled with Hello Kitty memo pads.
Unless you’re a fan, you’re going to have a difficult time bathing in the bathrooms of both Hello Kitty rooms. The mirrors of the bathroom have Hello Kitty’s face embossed on them, which makes these rooms a level higher in terms of creepiness compared to the Bates Motel. As we’ve said, unless you’re a fan.
Hello Kitty Castle at the Uni Resort in Hsinchu, Taiwan
The Hello Kitty Castle at the Uni Resort is a bit different because it looks like Barbie’s dream digs, only it has Hello Kitty insignia everywhere. From the outside, the two-floor house is a bright bubblegum pink. You’ll see it decorated with a lot of Hello Kitty faces, as well as patters of ribbon bows and roses. The windows are also loyal to the Hello Kitty theme and their flower boxes are filled with red, red flowers.
The same shock of pink and magenta will welcome you once you step inside the building. The couches, cupboards, rugs, tables and carvings are all signature Hello Kitty. There are numerous blog accounts saying that this castle is in Shanghai, but it’s not. The Hello Kitty Castle is in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Hello Kitty Maternity Hospital in Yuanlim, Taiwan
Usually, mothers go back to their Hello Kitty past when their kids are already in preschool and it seems legal to expose them to the same kitsch. Rarely does it ever happen for mommy’s to introduce their children to Hello Kitty’s world at birth. This is, of course, unless you’re in Taiwan, and you’re giving birth at the Hello Kitty Maternity Hospotal in Yuanlim.
The hospital’s concept seems to go beyond fanaticism, though. When asked, the founder said he wished to make childbirth a less horrifying experience for mothers. Well, only two things can come of this: the experiment will work, and Hello Kitty will become a sort of anesthetic; or these poor mothers, traumatized by child birth, would forever associate Hello Kitty with labor pains.
For the sake of the still-booming business, we’re hoping for the former.
if not, come back tomorrow on journeyetc.com and see what's new :)