Sanrio Puroland is an indoor theme park in Tokyo located in Tama City on the western edge of the metropolis and about 30 minutes by subway from central Tokyo. There are few other notable tourist attractions here other than the gardens and parks, shrines and temples that are found everywhere in Japan. This area is also set in lovely mountain covered landscapes and is very popular for hiking. The theme park is accessible by subways and trains.
The theme park is named for the company that designs animated characters that are popular with preteens (especially girls) and even older people. Characters include Badts-Maru, My Melody, Sugarbunnies, Chocolat, and Hello Kitty. Sanrio Puroland tickets give you entry into a huge five-story Hello Kitty theme park that was the first built to honor Sanrio’s most universally popular character. This is as close as you can get to Tokyo Disneyland without actually visiting that theme park located on Tokyo Bay just west of Odaiba. In fact, Sanrio (Japan’s largest producer of greetings cards and stationery) partners with the Walt Disney Company for their greeting cards.
This indoor theme park in Tokyo is based on the popular Hello Kitty character created in 1974, and the cute little feline without a mouth and her collateral products produce some of the company’s highest sales figures. Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo was opened in 1990, the first of the Hello Kitty theme parks. Another, called Harmonyland, has been opened in Oita on Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost island. Plans are underway for one in China and one in Malaysia.
The little kitty idolized in this indoor theme park in Tokyo is not just due to the adoration of preteen girls. Hello Kitty has been an ambassador for UNICEF, a logo inscribed on major credit cards, and the inspiration for hundreds of products that produce millions of dollars a year in sales—from stationery and cuddly toys to popular anime films and television shows—all of which you can purchase once your Sanrio Puroland tickets get you inside. Her popularity has spread to the trendy Harajuku Girls you can see showing off their costumes on Takeshita-Dori. Hello Kitty themed special events even include weddings.
In addition to shopping for Sanrio Puroland brand items and merchandise in several different shops, other theme park activities include dining in a number of restaurants. There’s a sweet shop, a cinnamon shop, a buffet restaurant, an automated cafeteria style restaurant, and a fast food court. Other attractions include a number of different kinds of musical productions, amusement park type rides, and a complete, fully furnished Hello Kitty house that can be explored and experienced by children. For girls from the United States, the house would be comparable to a full-sized Barbie house, complete with furniture and accessories. One of the most popular rides is the boat ride that uses character themed boats to navigate throughout all of Hello Kitty land, meeting characters along the way. There are parades and concerts, and the park offers fireworks every day during the summer.
The best bargains for Sanrio Puroland tickets are those purchased in advance. You can find these online on the official Sanrio website and can purchase them in a number of stores and agencies around the city. You can, of course, purchase them at the door on arrival.
Image: LocalJapanTimes (Flickr)