Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sanrio Puroland - The Hello Kitty Theme Park in Japan

Far away from Tokyo, and not anywhere near where we were staying in Japan, there lies a curious little indoor theme park dedicated to Hello Kitty and her friends. We had a particularly exhausting and eventful sightseeing and fun trip from Kyoto to Tokyo during cherry blossom season with friends and even though we were travel weary, cranky, and ready for a day of rest, we decided that we would make the long and sidetracked trip to this special little place.

I'd read a few things online about how Sanrio Puroland was a small version of Disney and perfect for her fans of any age. I have been a bit of a Hello Kitty fan since I could go to a tiny stationary store that sold milkshakes and buy pencils cases, stickers, and accessories all with a Hello Kitty theme (OMG I sound really old, but it was kind of a vintage little place near my hometown that surely doesn't exist any more).

Anyway, with my husband and two kids in tow and my hip finally giving out from baby-wearing my toddler in a front carry so I could carry a backpack on the back, several subway rides and a walk dragging all of our luggage, we finally made it to the mecca of kawaii, the cat of cuteness, Hello Kitty land

When you finally get off the train, here, you will find Hello Kitty and friends everywhere!

Once inside the station, you will see this light up mosaic-style ceiling.

Underneath this artwork is a compass pointing you in the right direction to Sanrio Puroland. Follow the pink arrow and you will be on your way to the attraction!

Sanrio Puroland is an all indoor and very small compared to places like Disney and LEGOLAND parks although a good deal larger than the popular LEGOLAND Discovery Centers that you can find everywhere from Berlin to Texas. There are several floors and convoluted paths, stairs, and elevators to get through this building. With endless shows, parades, shops, and restaurants, this place can seem bigger than it actually is!

We were happy to find out that there were full sized lockers for luggage at Sanrio Puroland. I took pictures of the lockers because it was one of the few things that worried me about dragging my meltdown ready family out to this place. Once all of our suitcases were safely locked up inside, we made our way downstairs where a show was just about to begin.

The kids enjoyed the boat ride, as did we! It is like a Small World but with Hello Kitty and it is a much longer and more entertaining ride than I expected in a place like this. We had to search around to find the My Melody ride which was also really cute and fun. After standing in lines and dealing with naps, rain, parades, and popcorn at Disney Sea the day prior, it was nice for the little kids to just hop right on two rides without a line.

The shows underneath the big tree are really cute with the characters dressed up and theatrical singing, audience participation and parades. I would have opted for more of these type of shows and skipped the Broadway-style nearly full length musical rat fairytale.

Although this full stage production entirely in Japanese was filled with commendable and talented performers it was LONG! I probably wouldn't have spent 45 minutes watching if I had known because we had already taken a major chunk out of our day with travel time and this place closes early. But the kids liked it so we were happy to relax for a bit.

This is certainly a very magical place. You are indoors but they make it feel like you are in a fairy tale at night in the main and largest space. There is a giant treehouse in the center, rides, food, attractions, shops, and displays surrounding the tree.

Is there Vegan Food at Sanrio Puroland?

Sadly, I didn't find much vegan food. Even the veggie curry is made with beef stock. There are several restaurants throughout this facility, all serving cute kawaii food, sweets, and even a buffet and bakery. We visited the restaurant downstairs and opted for pancakes, popcorn, and a few other vegetarian snacks for the little kids but I couldn't find or confirm anything was vegan.

This is one of those situations where the kids eat vegetarian and mommy eats NOTHING except my hero of a husband surprised me with peanut butter jelly sandwiches. He had managed to put them together while we were cleaning out our Airbnb in the morning and he had squished and smuggled them into Hello Kitty's home in his backpack. How sneaky!

The kids picked at their junk food and I bought a little more time to explore this place before the full temper tantrums popped off, now with a sugared up edge.

You will want to use your map to figure out how to get around. It is a little confusing.. We had a tough time finding My Melody ride but it was also very cute and perfect for our very little kid. There was also the Little Twin Stars attraction which we didn't have enough time to do.

These pictures taken in the ride had me dying laughing!!!

You can decorate and buy the ride photos. Or just take pictures of them.

I had been wanting to buy some cute stuff since I got to Japan and had dreamed about shopping at this place. However, I think when you are at the tail end of a year in Japan where we spent all of our free time traveling, all of our extra cash on experiences and LEGO, and were at the point where we were getting concerned about carrying a credit card balance, going to a mega-store full of things you don't need is challenging.

Next time, I would go in there like we do in Las Vegas... knowing how much cash we are going to blow then mentally preparing to be okay with it when it's all gone. You may be happy with your purchases, you may feel like you've been ripped off while your were not in your right mind, but you will still make your mortgage payment so you cut your losses and move on.

Lucky for me, Easter was the following weekend, so I bought a small basket full of goodies that seemed be unique or useful in some way. I had a theme and I kept my selections to cute things that could fit in a basket for each kid.

My hubs picked out a Hello Kitty play-doh type set where you create bento boxes out of clay and molds. (How crafty is he?!) They played with it at home and it was so much fun!

There's also a full My Melody store, some photo opportunities, a bakery and more on the upper floor.

This cool shrine was made out of toys!

The boy pulled it together and started taking some cute pictures while his sister descended into nap-deprived hours of bad-ittude...

No she wasn't trying to climb this. She was actually kicking it.

Nothing like full-American style bad behavior.

The walk back to the subway, while stopping at an actual Subway to order vegan sandwiches, and a long commute via subway TO the train, and long commute on the train, we could finally close the book on our year in Japan. In the land of Hello Kitty, we met Hello Kitty. Bucketlist check.

Do I recommend leaving Tokyo to make your way to this theme park? 

If you have the extra time and little kids, I say go for it. It is an entire day trip and if you get out earlier than we did you can make the most of it. It would be easy to spent 6 hours here. We did it in 3.5. I would have liked a little more time.

Do people go without kids? YES! This is Japan.

We saw plenty of grown-ups exploring alone. Plus you can probably get through this place a lot faster if you aren't herding 2-5 year olds.

The attraction itself is somewhat dated and a little bit on the cheesy side. Everything is expensive, and there is NOTHING for vegans to eat. But if you LOVE Hello Kitty and are looking for something unique to do it is totally worth it.

Discount coupon and other tips for Sanrio Puroland

You can get a discounted ticket after 2pm on weekdays an 3pm on weekends and holidays

Sometimes they have other discount coupons for 100 yen or so you can scan on your phone at the ticket booth.

They have crushed "pennies" here, so if you collect those and your kids are cheap dates, grab one of these as a souvenir. This was the few souvenirs I found that actually had Sanrio Puroland printed on it. It is stitched onto the headband we purchased, too, but most toys and stuff are generic Sanrio.

Visit their site for more info: Sanrio Puroland

Where to stay in Japan

We recommend Airbnb when visiting Japan.

Get $33 Airbnb credit when you use my link
( you will receive an automatic $33 credit applied to your first stay)

Loews Hotels are our favorite PET-Friendly chain that we LOVE too! Get 10% off Loews.


  1. I am so bummed they have nothing vegan, I even double checked on their FAQ site. :'( Is it wrong that as a vegan I really want to eat something shaped like a kawaii cat? XD

    1. I was bummed too but I was expecting that from Japan. I would have bought 10 of those tiny ceramic character mugs with a VEGAN dessert inside. They really use meat and dairy in all their cute restaurants, attractions, everything.


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