Sanrio is one of Japan’s most iconic enterprises, being the name behind world-famous characters such as Hello Kitty and Gudetama. You can find Sanrio stores and items pretty much everywhere in Japan, but what you may or may not know is that the company also has its own theme park, known as Sanrio Puroland. Located in Tokyo, the park is a very popular destination for people of all ages, from high-schoolers to families with kids. Anyone can enjoy Sanrio Puroland, especially if they’re into the whole kawaii aspect of Japanese culture and would love to spend a whole day surrounded by their favorite cutesy characters. In this article, you’ll find out how to make the most out of your time at Sanrio Puroland as a first-timer, including what to expect, where to get tickets, how to get there, and more.
Cover photo credit: Tomohiro Ohtake
1. How to get Sanrio Puroland tickets?
You can purchase Sanrio Puroland tickets both online, on websites like Voyagin, and at the entrance of the park. The prices are pretty much the same, ranging from ¥330 to ¥3800 for adults and ¥2500 to ¥2700 for kids, depending on the day of the week. Be warned that the park has a rather weird working schedule, with the second, third, and fourth Wednesdays and Thursdays of each month closed. They also have a Weekday vs Holiday system, and the only difference between the two is that the Holiday passes are slightly more expensive. The best you can do to figure out the best day to visit is access the Sanrio Puroland website and check out their calendar.
2. How to get to Sanrio Puroland?
Despite being technically located in Tokyo, Sanrio Puroland is a bit off the beaten path for most foreign visitors. The easiest way to get there for most people is getting on the Keio line bound for Hashimoto at Shinjuku station, and getting off at the Keio-Tama station. That will cost you ¥330, and you can use any regular prepaid train card like SUICA or PASMO on this line. What’s more, the Keio line actually offers something called ‘Keio Amusement Passports’, which go for around ¥4000 and include the Puroland entrance fee (access to attractions and shows included), plus the cost of the train to and from Keio-Tama. That saves you around ¥500, which is great if you’re looking to buy as many souvenirs as humanly possible.
3. What to do at Sanrio Puroland?
The park has a variety of shows and attractions to enjoy. Now mind you, Sanrio Puroland is no Disneyland, in that you shouldn’t expect any thrilling rollercoasters from it. It is a very family-friendly, kid-friendly theme park, and most of the attractions are walkthrough type rooms, with lots of adorable photo spots featuring your favorite characters and things like that. For instance, the Little Twin Stars attraction is the TwinklingTour, which is basically a walking tour through several LTS-inspired areas. The My Melody one is an actual ride, which takes you to MyMelo-chan room and other adorable areas. If there’s one Sanrio Puroland attraction you should experience by all means, it’s the Sanrio Characters Boat Ride. It offers you a ten-minute boat ride through the world of all the most famous Sanrio characters, and the visuals are pretty impressive.
You’ll see something called a ‘PUROPASS’ advertised in the park. The Puropass allows you go get early access to certain popular rides without staying in line. However, they cost additional money (¥500 per ride), and are usually not worth it unless it’s an especially crowded day, and you really want to experience a certain ride.
Another famous attraction is Hello Kitty’s bell of happiness – a pop culture take on the bells you ring at shrines when you pray for luck and good health. Try to ring it and make a wish – although it’s still a mystery whether Kitty can grant wishes that don’t imply eating lots of sweets!
4. What shows to see at Sanrio Puroland?
Sanrio Puroland is always coming up with new and innovative shows. Right now, the Kabuki x Sanrio mashup is all the rage – it features all the characters in traditional Japanese clothes and kabuki-style make-up. These special, seasonal shows are usually performed once or twice per day, and you can find the time slots and the areas on the official Puroland website. A quintessential show you must see is the Sanrio Character Parade, which takes place every day at 13:00 on the first floor of the Purovillage area. This parade features all the Sanrio mascots marching and dancing for 25 minutes – a quintessential experience for Sanrio fans. Other shows you can catch are Kitty’s live performances at one of the restaurants, which take place on weekdays starting at 12:00.
5. Where to eat at Sanrio Puroland?
There’s plenty of dining options in the park. If you’re really hungry and are looking for more than just a cotton candy parfait, head to either Yanaka Restaurant or the Sanrio Rainbow World Restaurant. Both have extensive menus including pasta, roast beef, rice bowls, and desserts. The Rainbow World Restaurant features character-themed booths, so you can enjoy sitting in an area inspired by your favorite Sanrio mascot. If you’re not that hungry, you can grab a quick snack/drink at the Sweet Parlor – a stand that sells hot and cold drinks, ice cream, and more. If you’re just in for a quick bit, head to the Sanrio character food court, which has counter service, and serves typical Japanese dishes like curry rice and omurice shaped like Sanrio characters. Prices are fairly decent -meals go for ¥1500 to ¥2000, and desserts for roughly ¥700.
6. Where to shop at Sanrio Puroland?
Shopping is one of the most exciting things you can do here. Especially if you are actually into the whole kawaii thing, because the Puroland stores are literally the Mecca of kawaii merch. They have individual shops for five of their most popular characters – Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, My Melody, Gudetama, and Cinamoroll. In addition to that, they have a couple of general merchandise stores, which usually sell Puroland-exclusive items that can’t be purchased anywhere else. Lastly, they also have a tax free counter, so don’t forget to bring your passport as well if you’re planning to drop over ¥5000 on merch (which you probably will anyway.)
Sanrio Puroland is a great place for those who want a full immersion into the Japanese culture of cuteness. Fluffy mascots, adorable family-friendly rides, delicious AND cute themed food, and lots and lots of merchandise to purchase – sounds like a great plan for one of your last days in Tokyo when you’re looking for a bit of a breather. Just make sure you save one whole day for Puroland in order to enjoy it to the fullest!
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