24/7 Hello Kitty

Can you do nothing but eat, sleep and play with Hello Kitty in Tokyo? Natalie Pang accepts the challenge.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Can you do nothing but eat, sleep and play with Hello Kitty in Tokyo? Natalie Pang accepts the challenge.
Natalie Pang
Natalie Pang

Hello Kitty celebrated her 40th birthday last November. If she were a real person living in our world, she would be halfway through paying off her housing loan. But because she’s a Sanrio character, Hello Kitty remains a little girl – forever young and innocent. Except that she’s worth about seven billion US dollars. It’s no surprise, really. Hello Kitty is a huge deal all around the world. We’re talking merchandise that spans from accessories to food, household items, and even credit cards. If you’re wondering what a whirlwind weekend of hotel stays, theme parks and food devoted to the worldfamous cat looks like, read on.

My Reading Room


The thought of living in a Hello Kitty-themed hotel
room can be quite overwhelming, especially if you’re a casual Hello
Kitty fan like I am. But I left the room a changed woman – convinced
that a night’s stay with a BFF could be real girly fun. At Keio Plaza
Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo, you get to pick from two different Hello Kitty
rooms – the Princess Kitty or Kitty Town room. If you want the royal
treatment, the Princess Kitty room is it – it has a lushly decorated
dark pink and maroon interior and couches that resemble a stiletto. The
Kitty Town rooms have a more casual vibe, with eye-catching Hello
Kitty-themed wallpaper and carpet, and a 1m-tall Hello Kitty doll
(which, unfortunately, you can’t bring home). But you do get to keep the
cute Hello Kitty skincare and toiletries set, and an exclusive plush

My Reading Room


Sanrio Puroland is home to all the other quirky
characters in the family, but Hello Kitty is, of course, the star player
at this four-floor indoor theme park. With rides, shows, and plenty of
phototaking ops, you’ll be wondering where all your time went. Take a
tour of Lady Kitty’s home, where you’ll get schooled on the character’s
40-year history, or take a walk through the birthplace of Little Twin
Stars. There’s no shame in enjoying your time at Sanrio Puroland because
everyone’s a kid in there. You’ll get to see solo tourists and families
on vacation, couples, and even giggly adult women reliving their
childhood. And, oh, souvenirs are a must. Just remember that with six
different shops – some selling specific character merchandise – you
shouldn’t rush into spending all your yen at one go.

My Reading Room


Japan may be home to Sanrio and Hello Kitty, but there
are actually no Hello Kitty cafes in Tokyo. So try all the Hello Kitty
confections, cocktails and rice sets at both Keio Plaza Hotel and Sanrio
Puroland. Now it’s no easy feat making Hello Kitty-themed food. Chefs
at Keio Plaza Hotel have to sketch drawings of their creations for
Sanrio’s approval before it even gets on the plate. The kawaii gems that
land on my table look way too cute to be eaten, but are they all beauty
and no substance? At the polite yet firm insistence of the Japanese
chefs, I devour my Hello Kitty creations. And I’m pleased to report
that, yes, they all taste as good as they look.

Sanrio Puroland is at 1-31 Ochiai, Tama 206-8588, Tokyo. Head to
en.puroland.jp for more information. Keio Plaza Hotel is at 2-2-1
Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo. Head to keioplaza.com for more