Like other kidults who never outgrew their Hello Kitty obsession, I made sure Sanrio Puroland topped the list when I organized my family’s first trip to Tokyo. With a tight schedule, I maximized the few hours we spent in this indoor theme park. Fellow Kittyzens, here’s how you, too, can make the most of your Puroland adventure.
1. Get a ticket for half the price.
If you purchase tickets at the door, it’s ¥3,300 per adult on weekdays or ¥3,800 on weekends and holidays. I got mine for only ¥1,976 via Klook. It’s easy to find discounted tickets through travel agencies or booking apps like Klook for about 40-50% off.
2. The Hello Kitty madness starts way before you enter the theme park.
Whether you’re coming from Tokyo or Shinjuku Station, hop on the JR Chuo Line (which means you can use your JR Pass, hooray!). Transfer to the Keio Line, which takes you to Tama Center, a.k.a. the city of Hello Kitty. Look around to spot Sanrio characters decorating the station’s walls, ceilings, shops, and special areas of the train before you even get to the actual theme park. Need help getting to Puroland? Click here.
3. It can be done in half a day.
Not counting the commute, Sanrio Puroland can be fully explored in just half a day. If you’re pressed for time, four hours is enough to see the best of Puroland before heading to the other places in your Tokyo itinerary.
4. No need to get a fast pass.
Don’t expect Disneyland proportions with endless lines. Sanrio Puroland is a small indoor theme park where the queues don’t get chaotic and the rides aren’t Jurassic. You don’t have to purchase the ¥500 fast pass, especially if you go on a weekday morning.
5. If it’s your birthday, you’re in for a treat.
Go to the information counter on the third floor to let them know it’s your birthday. They’ll give you a free birthday card that lets you collect stickers and other surprises when you go to the attractions. That’s so kawaii (Japanese for cute)! Boo to the bigger theme parks like Universal Studios for not giving birthday celebrants extra love.
6. Join the lottery.
Head to Puro Village on the first floor and look for the Winning Ticket booth. For ¥600, you’ll pick one prize stub from the raffle tube. When you unroll the stub, the number reveals which prize you’ll get from the display of Sanrio goodies. I had my eye on the toaster, but ended up with a set of three Hello Kitty food containers. Not bad. Every ticket wins a prize!
7. Time travel to the ’90s.
Sanrio Puroland opened on December 7, 1990. That’s the year I remember begging my mother to pay for every item I wanted from Gift Gate (when in Manila) and Sanrio Surprises (when in Cali). The first thing I noticed when I entered Puroland is that the place seems stuck in the ’90s—from the fading restaurant signs to the retro interiors. Some may find it outdated, but I loved it! It evoked memories of my childhood when I would spend all day inside Sanrio Surprises amassing a wealth of stickers, stationery, and pencils.
8. Eat elsewhere if you want good food.
The downside to Sanrio cafés and restaurants is that it’s always about the cute presentation and hardly about the taste. If you’re “doing it for the ‘gram,” go ahead and spend ¥1,500 on a bland rice plate modeled after a Sanrio character. My family had a big breakfast before Puroland, and we decided to have a late lunch back in the city. I love you forever, Hello Kitty, but I’m sorry I won’t buy your overpriced meals—maybe just the candy!
9. Plot wisely.
This indoor theme park is overflowing with kawaiiness, so it’s tempting to stop at every gift shop and arcade hall, but save that for downtime. First check the schedule of the parades and shows to know what time you should return to save a seat. While waiting for the shows to start, go on the major rides like the Sanrio Character Boat (their version of Disney’s “It’s a Small World) and My Melody’s World. If you see your favorite characters like Gudetama in the Meet ‘N’ Greet corner, fall in line to get a selfie and a big hug.
10. It’s not just about Hello Kitty.
If you’re a child of the ’70s to ’90s, get nostalgic as you see classic characters like My Melody, Little Twin Stars, Keroppi, and Tuxedo Sam. For Gen Z kids, the newer characters like Gudetama and Cinnamoroll are leading the pack.
Are you planning a visit to Sanrio Puroland soon? Who’s your favorite Sanrio character?
Sanrio Puroland is located at 1-31 Ochiai, Tama, Tokyo. Open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check the online calendar to see if it’s open on your target date.