Friday, July 14, 2017

Meeting Hello Kitty and Friends at Sanrio Puroland in Tama, Japan!

The facade of Sanrio Puroland, Hello Kitty's official theme park in Tokyo, Japan.

No matter how old I get, Hello Kitty will always have a special place in my heart.

I remember when I used to live in Quezon City in Manila as a child. Hello Kitty was as big of a fad back then as it still is now. All of my female classmates then were decked out in Hello Kitty merchandise from head to toe. After school, I'd head to a certain mall in Cubao just to visit Gift Gate, which was a licensed retailer for Sanrio merchandise. I remember going through racks and shelves full of Hello Kitty goodness. To the five-year old me, it was kawaii heaven. To the maid who always accompanied me there, it was not. I remember coaxing her to buy me stuff that I want but definitely don't need, such as Kiki and Lala watches, Hello Kitty lunch boxes, bright pink My Melody tee-shirts, and a whole lot more. She'd always tell me how my mom wouldn't allow it, as they were too expensive. Not usually one to argue, I'd leave the matter at that yet would make it a point to come back the next afternoon just to make sure that nobody had bought them yet.

Now, I still find Hello Kitty and the other Sanrio characters to be cute and adorable. Every Sanrio stuff that I wanted for myself in the past I now bought for my three-year old princess just so I would feel the fulfillment that I haven't had when I was a kid. But the ultimate Sanrio experience came when we headed to Tokyo for a twelve-day pleasure trip. As the person in charge of the itinerary, I would never miss the opportunity to visit Hello Kitty's official theme park for the world!

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Page 2: Attractions in the second floor, such as Gudetama Travel Around the World, Lady Kitty's House, Kiki & Lala's Twinkling Tours, Shops and Merchandise

(Related post: Want to see another unique theme park that we visited while in Japan? Click here.)

The ceiling of Tama Center, the train station nearest to Sanrio Puroland.

(Related post: Ready to visit Japan as a tourist? See the detailed instructions on how to apply for a visa here.)

From Central Tokyo, we headed to the Shinjuku Eki-mae to ride the Keio Line train headed to Hashimoto. After about forty-five minutes of travel, we got off at Tama Center Station which is nearest to Sanrio Puroland, Hello Kitty and Sanrio's official amusement park.

(Related post: A food theme park in Japan? Click here to read all about it!)

See that building at the center with its peak jutting out? That's Sanrio Puroland, a three-minute walk from Tama Center station.

Kyaa! The culmination of all my little girly dreams!

All set and ready to enter!

Since the official website had no option for visitors to purchase their tickets online, we had to line up and pay for our tickets in cash at the booth.

Tip: Make sure to download and print out the complimentary discount coupon from the Sanrio Puroland website to get a discount of 100 JPY per ticket! One coupon is valid for up to five visitors. In the park, visitors also have the choice to buy a Puropass top-up per ticket costing 500 JPY per ticket. The Puropass entitles visitors to skip the queue for specific rides.

Cute little Cinamoroll watches over the entrance to Puro Village.

Sanrio Puroland has tons of walkthrough attractions, a very entertaining parade, live shows, and two electronic rides-- all of which are child-friendly and full of lights, sounds and kawaii. If you're looking for something adrenaline-packed, Puroland is not the place for you. 

All visitors enter the park through the second floor, but what we did was head down the escalator to the first floor where the parade, the theaters, and all of the rides are.

The first floor is where Puro Village is, and where I'd recommend visitors to start their Sanrio experience. Akin to a quaint little village, this whole area was designed with murals of farms and forests in the walls, pretty little fairy lights, and wooden bridges, huts and shops. In the middle of the floor stands the Wisdom Tree that's the center of the Miracle Gift Parade.

The Wisdom Tree, all lit up!

A cute little pendulum manned by the Sugarbunny siblings. I spent two entire minutes just watching the mesmerizing back-and-forth movement it made.

Silhouette art!

Typical Japanese "vendo" dispensing drinks.

Without a doubt, even according to other sources and reviews, the Sanrio Character Boat Ride is the best ride in the park. Since we arrived early, there was little to no queue for the ride when we lined up for it. Later in the afternoon, when I passed by the area again, I saw that it had acquired a fifteen-minute waiting time as the number of park visitors gradually swelled. Tip: Line up for this attraction first!

Here's a POV video that I took on the ride. I had a bit of a panic attack when I saw a ten-foot long drop on the first minute in but instantly calmed down when I realized we'd descend at a snail's pace.

Sanrio Character Boat Ride!

It was an easy eight-minute ride that made a grown adult like me go "Oooh!" and "Aaah!" and "Wow!". It was really cute and charming that I think even my dad-- who is a self-declared macho adult-- would melt if he had the opportunity to experience it (FYI: He couldn't come with us on our trip to Japan because of work, bless him). I could easily tell that it was a ride meant for kids, but that's not to say that riders who are not kids are not bound to enjoy it.

Kitty warns riders about the use of selfie sticks and the throwing of trash in the water.

Cinamoroll and his siblings at the entrance to the ride busy making sweets!

Character Boat Ride souvenir stand and photo booth.

When I heard that a Hello Kitty and Friends parade entitled "The Miracle Gift Parade" would be held at the base of the Wisdom Tree, I expected it to just be all about Kitty-chan and various other Sanrio characters in their respective colorful floats and their background dancers being paraded around the tree with colorful lights and sounds accompanying their ultra-kawaii dance moves.

I certainly did not expect the parade to have a story. I certainly did not expect aerial acrobats joining in on the act together with the regular dancers. I certainly did not expect the entrance of the queen, Hello Kitty, to be a lavish affair-- entering from above, riding and descending from a moving platform. I certainly did not expect the parade to feature a villain halfway into the story. 

I most certainly did not expect to find the Miracle Gift Parade to be more enjoyable, more vibrant, and more engaging than all the parades I've witnessed in Disney Resorts.

I realized that I was watching a show instead of a parade as intended by its title because I felt the need to hang on to every unfolding scene being played right before my eyes. At the parade's conclusion, it was all I ever talked and raved about for the few following days. Clearly, it was the ultimate highlight of my trip to Puroland.

Tip: Sit on the floor near the base of the tree that's either in front of the Wisdom Tree Stage or near the entrance of the Character Food Court. Every aspect of the show can be seen from these areas, including the dark void in the sky when the villain arrives and Hello Kitty's entrance and descent from above.

A video of the Miracle Gift Parade posted by user M Hide on Youtube.

Before the show, the Tree stood in the middle of the Village looking plain and unsightly.

A few minutes before the show, these steps would be filled up with spectators.

Gudetama, the lazy egg, informs the audience what to expect about the parade.


My Melody.

Kiki and Lala.

Minna no Tabo, Keroppi and Meru.


Pompom Purin.

Audience cheering and pointing at Hello Kitty at a platform suspended fifteen meters from ground level.

Hello Kitty and Daniel.

Kitty teaches the audience how to wield the Heart Jewel.

An evil queen entered through the void and terrorized Puroland.

The evil, black queen had a change of heart.

All throughout the show, the Wisdom Tree continued to light up and change colors.

We headed to the Fairyland Theater soon after the Miracle Gift Parade ended to catch a musical show starring various ikemen as town mice and forest mice whose misconceptions about each other cause disunity and tragedy. While my pretty baby was eager about the fact that the show also features My Melody on the side as a host/narrator, I was more concerned abut the nice-looking men singing and dancing themselves into my very feminine heart.

The murals on the walls in Fairyland.

When we first walked into the theater, we thought it was too small for a show. Turns out we've mistakenly judged the waiting area, and the real theater-- the entrance to which was actually concealed behind a huge boulder-- was revealed to the audience in a theatrical, whimsical way that left us all with our mouths hanging open.

The theater itself was designed to look like it's nestled deep inside a forest. Talking, blinking trees lined the sides and corners, and the chairs and tables were all made of wood. How rustic.

The show itself was rather nice, too. Although it was all in Japanese, the story was easy to follow from the actors' portrayal. 

Marchen Theater wasn't open by the time we visited.

During the time of our visit to Sanrio Puroland, the Discovery Theater featured Gudetama's Motion Picture. Gudetama the Lazy Egg acted as the director of the film while various guests in the theater were recruited as the stars. Even though it was a lot of fun watching Gudetama criticize the audience members' acting, this is something I did not enjoy, seeing as we were foreigners who understood very limited Japanese.

Gudetama's movie was a success! Too bad we couldn't take part in it as non-Japanese speakers!

My Melody Road Drive is another cute attraction that depicts the birth and childhood of My Melody, one of the most popular characters made by Sanrio. I couldn't help but feel disappointed about this slow-paced ride because of its short duration of less than five minutes. Nevertheless, the ride was oozing with kawaii-ness and it'd have been a shame not to go on it as the waiting time did not exceed five minutes during the time of our visit to the park. Plus, I really adore My Melody.

A POV video of the ride that I took.

These tiny pink vehicles can fit up to four passengers.

Wish me Mell on one of the walls near MyMe Road Drive.

The Bread, Juice, Ice Cream, Candy and Chocolate Factories are side-by-side attractions found in the Marchen Plaza next to the Marchen Theater. They're walkthrough attractions that are great for photo opportunities! Inside each of the factories, the aroma of their respective products are realistically strong in the air.

The cutest Chocolate Factory!

Mmmm, smells like chocolate in here.

Inside the Juice Factory.

This Bread Factory was manned by these cute stuffed animals.

Sweet, sweet Ice Cream Factory.

The sweet smell of sugar fills the Candy Factory.

On the other side from the boat ride and beneath Lady Kitty's House is the Sanrio Character Food Court where we were all attracted by the wafting smell of curry and hamburger meat. Up to this day, we couldn't understand how we came to unanimously decide back then that it was time for an early lunch when we all had a big breakfast before leaving our apartment.

The Character Food Court is located directly beneath the attraction "Lady Kitty's House".

Curry rice meals! So cute!

What should I get for lunch?

Mmmm, I love how the items in the menu look!

Cute noms on display!

They serve their kiddie lunch sets on these cute bento boxes!

Japanese salad and Gudetama pudding!

They sell jello or pudding that comes in a cute commemorative cup.

Hello Kitty shoyu ramen, 850 JPY. The broth is great but the noodles were subpar.

Cola and tutti-fruity flavored rainbow popcorn (400 JPY).

Hello Kitty finger food set (1,600 JPY) comprised of burger, star-shaped chicken nuggets and thick cut fries comes in a nifty little lunch box.

Hello Kitty jello. It came with the lunch box set of finger foods.

Time for lunch! This is my Hello Kitty "Gorgeous Curry" (1,300 JPY). Everything's edible except for the flowers (I accidentally bit on one and reeled because of its bitterness).

Pompom Purin Hamburg Steak in Curry Rice (1,300 JPY).

Mmmm. Lunch!

Time to bite into this Gorgeous Curry!

Gudetama Travel Around the World
Lady Kitty's House, Kiki & Lala's Twinkling Tours
Shops and Merchandise


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