Travel With Hello Kitty! Hello Kitty Shinkansen is Now in Service!
As of June 30, 2018, a shinkansen (bullet train) designed in collaboration with Hello Kitty is now operating! It's recommended not only for Hello Kitty fans, but also for anyone traveling in Western Japan. Discover all the features and wonders of this new shinkansen!
Jul 13 2018 (Jul 04 2019)
About Hello Kitty
Cheerful, graceful, and with a ribbon on her left ear, Hello Kitty is a female character designed by Sanrio Co. Ltd. Her cute looks earned her the nickname "Kitty-chan" and made her extremely popular among people of all generations, from children to elders. Her fame goes way beyond Japan's borders. She's well-known all over the world. For example, in Los Angeles in the United States, they even celebrate her anniversary! She's also the most representative character of Japan's "kawaii" (cute) culture.
Board the Hello Kitty Shinkansen!
Thanks to a collaboration between JR West Japan and this famous character, the Hello Kitty Shinkansen was created. Decorated with a pink ribbon pattern, this cute shinkansen started operating on June 30, 2018 (Sat) between Shin-Osaka Station in Kansai and Hakata Station in Kyushu.
Go on a Journey With Hello Kitty!
The interior of the train is super cute as well. For example, the 2nd coach that’s dubbed the "Kawaii! Room" is furnished in a gorgeous Hello Kitty style. There's also a photo spot where you can take a selfie with Hello Kitty, so it will feel as if you're actually traveling with her.
Lots of Tourism Information!
As if that weren't enough, the train also provides plenty of tourism-related services. Head to the 1st coach called “Hello! Plaza” to get a limited-time introduction to the various events and tourist spots that each part of Western Japan has to offer. From July to September, the theme will be the prefectures of Tottori and Shimane, while from October, it'll be dedicated to Yamaguchi Prefecture. There’s a space where you can purchase local specialties and even a video corner where you can learn more about these areas!
This is just the beginning of what the train offers. For instance, the train chime has been changed to an original melody. Don’t let it escape your ears!
How to Board the Train
If you want to travel by the Hello Kitty Shinkansen, just purchase your Super (Limited) Express Seat Ticket and Basic Fare Ticket as you would do for a regular shinkansen. Non-reserved seats are available as well. Other than ticket vending machines and JR ticket offices (Midori-no-Madoguchi) at the station, you may also book them online.
Operating Days & Times
Here's the timetable of departures and arrivals.
▼Kodama 730▼ Departing from Hakata: 6:40 am - Arriving in Shin-Osaka: 11:13 am
▼Kodama 741▼ Departing from Shin-Osaka: 11:29 am - Arriving in Hakata: 3:38 pm
The train will be operating every day from June 30 (Sat) to September 30 (Sun), with some exceptions*. The operating schedule from October 2018 has yet to be confirmed.
*July 18 - 20, August 8 - 10, September 3 - 5, September 26 - 28
*Depending on the operating status, the positions of the coaches may change without advance notice.
More Unmissable Features!
While the Hello Kitty Shinkansen is in service, several events are scheduled. For example, a Hello Kitty Shinkansen cafe will open in Hakata Station. Enjoy its original interior design and unique menu items. In the same station, there will also be a temporary "antenna shop" (a shop promoting regional products) where you can buy plenty of original goods that are perfect as souvenirs. Moreover, the Chugoku JR Bus will wear a temporary wrap to match the Hello Kitty Shinkansen. Information on other events can be found on the official website, so do check it out every once in a while.
If you're traveling around Japan, don't miss this chance to travel with Hello Kitty in a super cute train. You'll build memories that you'll never forget!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.