September 29, 2010
If you’re a fan--and we know some IgoUgo members are, mark these Hello Kitty hotspots on your to-do list, stat. Taiwan, Japan, and the U.S. are, of course, fascinating travel destinations in their own right. But as an added bonus during her company Sanrio’s golden anniversary this year, they’ll be more Kitty-centric than ever.
Since her creation in 1975, the cute, bobble-headed, bow-tied Hello Kitty figure has become emblematic of a wider cultural wave of “kawaii” (or, "cuteness"). Now, Hello Kitty is practically as universally recognizable as Mickey Mouse. And like Mickey, she has the destinations to prove it.
- Tokyo, Japan: Sanrio Puroland
This indoor theme park is a Hello Kitty and friends paradise (IgoUgo member gsysimon simply calls it “Hello Kitty Home” and “a must-go for all the cat-lovers”). Visit Kitty’s house, take a boat ride with all the Sanrio characters, or watch the “Believe” show starring Kitty and the rest of the Sanrio universe.
- Tokyo, Japan: Hello Kitty’s Kawaii Paradise (Opening October 22, 2010)
Soon to be the only theme park dedicated solely to Hello Kitty, the highlight of this indoor theme park will be a theater that shows animated Hello Kitty films projected onto its domed ceiling in four languages, and it will also offer themed restaurants and shops with character goods.
- Oita, Japan: Sanrio Harmonyland
While Puroland doesn’t include rides, the outdoor Harmonyland picks up the slack--with ferris wheels, carousels, and roller-coasters all combined with characters. A major attraction is the Kitty Castle, where you can have your picture taken with Hello Kitty herself.
- Taipei, Taiwan: Hello Kitty Sweets
This uber-busy sweets shop features a giant, glowing Hello Kitty at the top--you can’t miss it. Inside, Kitty-shaped booths are the coveted spots, and character-shaped sweets are the best of the offerings.
- Kaohsiung, Taiwan: Grand Hi-Lai Hotel
Think pink, pink, pink if you stay in one of the Hello Kitty-themed suites or less expensive rooms: there’s specially-made Hello Kitty furniture, tea sets, jumbo mirrors, lamps, notepads, and more.
- Hsinchu, Taiwan: Hello Kitty Castle
Stay at a light pink, two-story house dotted with all things Kitty--and plenty of plushy magenta bows.
- Yuanlin, Taiwan: Hello Kitty Maternity Hospital
A destination for only a true fan... or someone who wants to have a baby in a Hello Kitty world. Nurses at this maternity hospital are dedicated Hello Kitty fans, wearing head-to-toe pink scrubs, wrapping newborns in Kitty-printed blankets, and hosting moms-to-be in Kitty linen and room décor.
- Aiea, Hawaii, United States: Sanrio Café
It’s more of a counter than a café, but the Hello Kitty-shaped cakes and pastries will still satisfy obsessives--and it’s the only Sanrio-licensed eatery in the United States.
- NY, NY, United States: Sanrio Luxe store
The USA may not have Sanrio theme parks to boast of, but this one-of-a-kind specialty shop in the heart of Times Square has become a destination in it’s own right: It’s Hello Kitty gone couture.
- United States (various cities, starting in October): “Small Gift: Celebrating 50 Years of Sanrio”
Fans across the US can get in on Hello Kitty and friends’ celebrations by following the “supercute” mobile unit pop-up shop across the US—it’ll launch in San Francisco, CA in October, and stop in Las Vegas, Austin, Atlanta and other spots on its way to the east coast.
In case you have interests other than Hello Kitty--we won't tell!
Other things to do in Taiwan
Other things to do in Tokyo
Other things to do in New York City
Other things to do in Hawaii
Posted by LonelyHighway (Kelly L. Phillips)