TOKYO, Japan – Sanrio’s cute cast of characters from Hello Kitty to Gudetama have been loved by generations. For every kid and kid-at-heart, Tokyo has the perfect and kawaii-est place to enjoy the company of these beloved figures: Puroland.
Located in Tama, somewhere in the western part of Tokyo, Sanrio Puroland is a four-storey complex filled with adorable and fantastic affairs.
The theme park contains 5 major attractions (including 2 rides), plus several regular and seasonal parades and shows to watch. Of course, there are shops where you can stock up on treats and toys featuring Sanrio’s kawaii cast of characters to take home.
Across a short bridge, an arched gate with colorful stained glass art greets you before you are greeted into a brightly lit foyer. But as you take the escalators down to the park’s center, it’s like a whimsical village called home by the lady known as Hello Kitty and her wonderful troupe.
Here’s a look around the theme park – in photos:
Kawaii Kabuki: Momotarō by the Hello Kitty Theater Troupe
See Hello Kitty, Dear Daniel, Bad Badtz-Maru, Cinnamoroll, and Pompompurin in a kabuki play so delightfully off-kilter.
Kawaii Kabuki follows the Hello Kitty Theater Troupe as they stage a play about Momotarō, the folklore hero whose name means “Peach Boy.” After their performance, their theater plunges into chaos as they encounter a mysterious figure they have never seen before.
Hello Kitty, the troupe director, plays the protagonist opposite Bad Badtz-Maru, who plays the oni or demon. Daniel, Cinnamoroll, and Pompompurin play the warriors who battle the ghost in this modern kabuki-inspired show that features a mix of traditional, rock, and electro-pop music.
As of writing, however, only Kawaii Kabuki is available on Omotenashi.
Miracle Gift Parade
The Miracle Gift Parade moves around Puro Village in the center of the theme park. A lights, music, and dance extravaganza, this breathtaking fairytale-like parade stars Hello Kitty and friends with a troupe of dancers and acrobats.
The parade takes place once every weekday and twice on weekends and holidays.
Gudetama the Movie
Among Puroland’s catalog of shows, this one could just catch you by surprise. Gudetama the Movie stars everyone’s favorite perennially lazy egg as the director of a yet-to-be-made movie – because that movie might just star you.
No two performances – or screenings, rather – are the same. Gudetama, being quintessentially Gudetama, needs your help in writing, casting, and shooting the movie.
Memory Boys: The Shop Selling Memories
【6月30日(土)上演スタート！】 本日6月27日(水)は「MEMORY BOYS～想い出を売る店～」の先行お披露目公演を実施しました #ピューロ #メモミュ https://t.co/aKAhM9FGfl pic.twitter.com/Zu0fbyddTh — MEMORY BOYS～想い出を売る店～【公式】 (@memoryboys_puro) June 27, 2018
As told by My Melody, Memory Boys is a musical showcase with a live cast in a touching story about a pair of brothers and how memories should be treasured.
Sanrio Character Boat Ride
Hello Kitty has thrown a party, and all her friends are coming to celebrate. Take a boat ride and see My Melody, Cinnamoroll, and more as they all prepare for the big event.
Upon paying a fee (¥1,100), you can have a printed photo from Hello Kitty’s party, or just download it via this site with a password.
Lady Kitty House
Hello Kitty has graciously opened her fabulous house to visitors, and in it, you’ll see her impressive private sanctuary that includes a rose garden, a dress tower, and a tea room.
She’s even there herself to host you, so you can definitely take a picture with her.
My Melody & Kuromi: Mymeroad Drive
Take a leisurely drive in an “Eco Melody Car” around Maryland, where you can meet My Melody and her friends.
Throughout this ride, your photo will be taken at different spots. You’ll get the chance to decorate it at the end of your fun trip.
Kiki & Lala Twinklingtour
Take photos and make memories at Dream Star Cloud, the magical birthplace of the Little Twin Stars, Kiki and Lala.
“Gudetama looks like a character someone gave up on, and yet people cannot get enough of it,” wrote Vox’s senior culture reporter Alex Abad-Santos. Certainly, in this place, you won’t get enough of everyone’s favorite and oh-so-relatable lazy egg yolk.
A song blasts through the speakers on loop in this place splattered with yellow: “Gude, Gudetama, Gude, gude, Gudetama.” It will not leave your brain long after you’ve left Puroland.
Gudetama Land is filled with all sorts of amusing forms this symbol of existential ennui can take: in a sushi restaurant, a cafe, a bowling alley, and more. You can find yourself occupied with plenty of photo opportunities and mini-games, so pick up a passport at the entrance and complete these.
Several shops, which focus on different characters, can be found throughout the theme park. Many of the items are Puroland exclusives.
The entrance shop, however, is a must-visit with its large selection of souvenirs, merchandise, packaged snacks, and more.
For ¥600, you can also try your luck at a lottery for various Sanrio merchandise.
A tax-free counter can be found at Puroland. For tax exemption guidelines, visit this site. You can also exchange foreign currency with via an automated machine just next to the entrance.
In Sanrio Puroland, the food can be as adorable as the place itself.
In the Character Food Court, dishes like curry are modelled on the faces of Sanrio’s cherished characters. You can even find Gudetama lying on top of a bowl of hot ramen generously topped with chashu (¥1,000), or his face sweet shiratama dango (a type of mochi) coated in yellow fondant icing (¥300).
Find similarly kawaii dining options at the Sanrio World Rainbow Restaurant upstairs.
Sit down for a snack and coffee with Cinnamoroll at his Dream Café.
As this is Japan, after all, expect to also find a couple of vending machines for a quick drink.
Tickets are priced at the following:
Weekends and Public Holidays
You can also secure a PuroPass for an express lane to the attractions. It’s available for weekdays and holidays, and you can avoid longer queues.
Keio Corporation, which runs Tokyo’s Keio train line, has also collaborated with Sanrio Entertainment to issue an Amusement Passport, which combines an entrance ticket to Puroland (including attractions) and a discounted day pass for the Keio and Inokashira lines.
Note that schedules for shows and attractions are subject to change every day. Check the official website for updated schedules.
How to get there
Sanrio Puroland is a little far from the usual haunts in the city center, but for every Sanrio fan, it’s a worthwhile trip. You can always take a cab, but the fares are pretty steep, so taking the train or bus is a better and efficient option.
The park, located at 1 Chome-31 Ochiai, Tama, Tokyo 206-8588 (〒206-8588 東京都多摩市落合1丁目31), is open:
Take the Keio Line from Shinjuku station, and board a semi-special express train bound for Hashimoto. The trip should take about 35 minutes. Alight from the Tama Center Station, from which the park is around a 5-minute walking distance.
Try not to blink and miss the Sanrio-inspired details found at the Tama Center station.
Check out this Keio Line train decorated with images of Hello Kitty and all her friends.
From Haneda Airport or Narita Airport, a limousine bus headed to Tama Center is available.
Time tables can be found here:
Ed's note: The writer was part of a trip to Tokyo sponsored by Sanrio Puroland.
*¥1 ≈ ₱0.47