Hello Kitty fans rejoice! The kawaii Hello Kitty Shinkansen by JR West is up and running on the Sanyo Shinkansen line, connecting Osaka to Fukuoka!
It started its service on June 30, 2018 and will only run for a limited time.
The train makes one round trip daily between Shin-Osaka and Hakata (Fukuoka) stations. It stops at all the stations along the way, including popular destinations like Himeji and Hiroshima.
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Hello Kitty Shinkansen Route
The super cute train runs on the Sanyo Shinkansen line, which connects Shin-Osaka to Fukuoka. It will make stops at each station between Shin-Osaka and Hakata Station, including popular spots like Kobe, Okayama, and Hiroshima.
The exterior of the train is fully covered with Hello Kitty prints, and cars one and two on the Shinkansen has additional special decorations inside that you’re sure to love!
The first car, Hello! Plaza, doesn’t have any passenger seats. Instead, it has a unique souvenir store and cafe. It showcases local specialities, delicacies, and souvenirs from the different regions along the JR West line that passengers can purchase.
Hello! Plaza will feature eight exclusive Hello Kitty products that will be on sale to the public. Each product represents the eight regions that the Hello Kitty Shinkansen travels through. There’s a Strawberry Hello Kitty representing Fukuoka and an Orange Hello Kitty representing Tottori. These Hello Kitties symbolise the regions’ local products.
The eight regions of exclusive Hello Kitty products are: Osaka, Hyogo, Okayama, Tottori, Hiroshima, Shimane, Yamaguchi, and Fukuoka.
The second car, Kawaii! Room, is a passenger car (with unreserved seating) covered all over with Hello Kitty and her friends.
Look out for the floor of the train which has been covered in pink bubbles the shape of Hello Kitty’s head, the seat headrests, side of the armrests, and the window blinds.
At the end of the Kawaii! Room is a large Hello Kitty doll wearing the Shinkansen train conductor’s uniform – it’s a great spot for photo opportunities!
Instead of the usual Shinkansen jingle that sounds when the train approaches the stations, the train will ring the original Hello Kitty theme song!
Hello Kitty Shinkansen Cafe at Hakata Station
The Hello Kitty madness doesn’t just end there! There are more places to enjoy the Hello Kitty craze at Hakata Station, the terminal station in Fukuoka! The first is the Hello Kitty Shinkansen Cafe which has a Hello Kitty menu and decorated with Hello Kitty.
Hello Kitty Shinkansen Marche at Hakata Station
The other place to enjoy the Hello Kitty craze is the Hello Kitty souvenir shop at Hakata station! It sells exclusive merchandise related to the the train, and is located near the ticketing gates.
How to Ride the Shinkansen
After reading all that, you must be thinking “so how do I ride on it?” The answer is simple – it’s included in your JR Pass, so you can ride it just like any other Shinkansen service!
We strongly recommend you to reserve your seat because chances are high that it will be packed almost all the time!
If you’d like to ride in the Kawaii! Room, remember to reserve your seat at any JR Office. The train numbers are: Kodama 730 (Hakata to Shin-Osaka) and Kodama 741 (Shin-Osaka to Hakata).
Non-reserved seating passes (limited to specific areas):
Reserved Seating Passes:
The official website can be found here.