There are two things that will never get old in Japan. Hello Kitty – Sanrio’s adorable mouthless character – and bullet trains.
And now they’re coming together.
Japan’s Shinkansen train operator, West Japan Railway Co. Ltd has unveiled its new Hello Kitty-themed Shinkansen bullet train.
The special train, running the company’s Sanyo Shinkansen line, will debut this week, on June 30. It will continue to run for the next three months.
Aimed at revitalizing regional communities in western Japan, the trains will make stops at each station between Shin-Osaka and Hakata in Fukuoka city in western Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture.
The company has revamped two 500 series Shinkansen bullet trains, coating them in Hello Kitty designs. The livery is decorated in pink ribbons and Hello Kitty’s signature bow – a design meant to represent the campaign’s goal of connecting travelers with destinations in the regions.
Hello Kitty everywhere
Two of the cars have been transformed into Hello Kitty worlds, featuring excessive and adorable kitty motifs.
The floor, windows, headrests and armrests of Car 2 – named Kawaii! Room – are covered in motifs from Hello Kitty and Friends. There is also a photo booth – featuring a Hello Kitty doll in Shinkansen uniform – for all your Instagram needs.
Instead of the usual Shinkansen jingle, the train will ring the original Hello Kitty theme tune as it approaches the stations.
Hello Kitty as a travel ambassador
Car 1, named Hello! Plaza, is dedicated to exhibitions showcasing various regional products and attractions. Passengers can buy souvenirs and specialty products here too.
The first region to be highlighted is Sanin, home to the Shimane and Tottori prefectures.
Eight original Hello Kitty designs have been unveiled – each Hello Kitty is holding a local product representing each of the prefectures the train visits. For example, there’s a green apple for Tottori prefecture and a black shell for Shimane prefecture.
Other prefectures to be featured include Osaka, Hyogo, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Fukuoka.
How to ride the Hello Kitty train
Travelers hoping to board the Hello Kitty Shinkansen can find the timetable on a website dedicated to the special train.
Passengers can ride the train with a regular train ticket, purchased in advance or on the day of the travel.
A special Hello Kitty café (open on June 1) and a souvenir shop (open on June 30) selling exclusive merchandises related to Hello Kitty Shinkansen will open at Hakata Station.