If you love Hello Kitty, cutesy parades, and rather cheesy performances, you'll probably love Sanrio Puroland. This small theme park makes a good day trip out of Tokyo for fans who can't get enough of Sanrio characters.
The entrance to Sanrio Puroland. - image © Florentyna Leow
Sanrio Puroland Overview
Hello Kitty may be one of Japan's most famous international exports. Luckily for Sanrio, she isn't just their company's one hit wonder - they have a string of characters hits to their name, from the sugary-sweet My Melody rabbit to the famously apathetic egg, Gudetama.
If you can't have enough Sanrio in your life, it's time to fulfil those dreams and head on over to Sanrio Puroland in Tama City. It's a relatively small theme park, but it's loaded with enough pastel-coloured kawaii to keep you and your kids happy for the day. As a bonus, there's plenty of themed merchandise on sale. If you have ever wanted a Hello Kitty-branded nail buffer or card-holder shaped like a ping pong bat, this is exactly where you need to go.
Ticket prices for Sanrio Puroland. - image © Florentyna Leow
Here are the basic admission prices for the park:
- Holiday Passport Prices (Weekends, public holidays, other Puroland holiday dates)
Adult (18+): JPY3,800
Child (3~17): JPY2,700
- Weekday Passport Prices (Monday~Friday)
Weekdays aren't particularly crowded, but it can be much busier during weekends and school holidays when families congregate here with their children. At this point you may need to queue for tickets.
The ticket barriers at Sanrio Puroland. - image © Florentyna Leow
In our opinion, Sanrio Puroland is not worth paying full sticker price for, especially when there are myriad discount ticket options out there. We suggest purchasing tickets in advance, which offers up to 48% off the full price.
On the day, all you need to do is bring a printout of your ticket or show a mobile ticket on your smartphone. They'll scan the QR code at the entrance. It's very simple, and you won't have to queue on the day to buy tickets.
A Sanrio takarabune, or treasure boat. - image © Florentyna Leow
Things to Remember Before You Go To Sanrio Puroland
- Check the online calendar before you go. Unlike Disneyland or some other theme parks, Sanrio Puroland isn't open every single day. They are typically closed on Thursdays, but there are occasionally other days where they are closed for maintenance or other reasons. Check their online calendar here.
- Check the online schedule before you go for parades and shows. Like Disneyland and Disney Sea, Sanrio Puroland has regularly scheduled performances and shows, such as the Kawaii Kabuki show or Memory Boys musical. Some of these are held daily, and some are only held on special occasions. If you're keen on seeing any of these, it's worth checking their website so that you can time your visit accordingly.
- They do special things for birthdays and anniversaries. If you're visiting Puroland on your birthday or an anniversary of any kind, head to the information counter on the third floor. You'll get a card, but also fun, secret, special things. Go and be surprised.
- You can actually buy a 'Fastpass' at Puroland. This JPY500 pass gives you priority access to rides and attractions. However, if you're here on a weekday, you will almost never have to wait for a ride other than the Sanrio Character Boat Ride. Unless you're really pressed for time, don't bother.
Signs to the Keio Line. - image © Florentyna Leow
Getting To Sanrio Puroland
You'll start at Shinjuku Station. Any entrance will do, but you essentially want to find the Keio Line. If you're starting from the South Exit, just follow the signs and downward escalators leading to the Keio Line.
Entrance to the Keio Line. This is also the entrance to the Toei Shinjuku and Oedo lines. Just look for the signs for Platforms 4 and 5. - image © Florentyna Leow
Make your way to Platform 4.
For illustration purposes, the top line in orange shows the Semi Rapid Express bound for Hashimoto at a different station on the Keio Line. - image © Florentyna Leow
You want to board a train bound for Hashimoto 橋本, ideally a Semi Rapid Express 準特急 or Express 特急 train as these are the fastest and stop at the fewest stations. If there is only a Rapid Train 快速 available, that's fine too - it will just take a little bit longer as there will be more stops on this line.
The station platform at Keio Tama Center Station. - image © Florentyna Leow
Alight at Keio Tama Center Station.
A large sign for Sanrio Puroland. - image © Florentyna Leow
Head to the exit. It's pretty obvious where you are.
A map of the surrounding area. - image © Florentyna Leow
Turn left and head for daylight. There'll be a map in front of you, but it shouldn't be necessary to consult it unless you have other things to look for. Walk up the stairs and cross the bridge.
You’ll pass a large Hello Kitty figure. - image © Florentyna Leow
Keep walking straight.
Look for the orange building. - image © Florentyna Leow
At the crossroads, turn left at the orange building.
Shops, shops, and more shops. - image © Florentyna Leow
You'll see Sanrio Puroland in the distance, at the end of a road lined with multinational fast food chains and conglomerates like McDonalds, Subway, and Mister Donut. That's your destination.
The route in summary: Take any of the rapid trains on the Keio Line bound for Hashimoto Station from Shinjuku Station. Alight at Keio Tama Center Station. Turn left at the ticket barriers, walk straight, up a short flight of stairs, and onwards. At the crossroads, turn left and walk straight. Sanrio Puroland is at the end of the road. The fare if you take the Keio Line is JPY320.
Odakyu Tama Center Station is next to Keio Tama Center Station. - image © Florentyna Leow
Note: You can also take the Odakyu line to Odakyu Tama Center. The only real difference is the fare: taking the Odakyu line from Shinjuku Station costs JPY370.
Crossing the bridge to Sanrio Puroland. You’ll hear cheery theme park music, much like Disneyland. - image © Florentyna Leow
Inside Sanrio Puroland
Sanrio Puroland isn't overwhelmingly large like Disneyland, and is you don't really need a game plan or strategy here. It's more about exploring and shopping. There's also free unsecured WiFi so you can immediately overshare all your delightful experiences here on social media.
There are four floors in the Sanrio Puroland building, connected by escalators and staircases. It doesn't really matter what order you visit each floor in. One of the zones, Sanrio Town, is only accessible via the first floor or the third floor. We'll introduce each of the floors and this zone in turn.
Inside Rainbow Hall, right after the ticket barriers. - image © Florentyna Leow
3F: The Third Floor
This is where the entrance and exit to the theme park is. When you enter through the ticket barriers, you'll be in Rainbow Hall.
Queuing for photo opportunities. - image © Florentyna Leow
At the foot of the stairwell, there'll be staff dressed up in various Sanrio character costumes throughout the day. There'll also be long queues of people for the photo op.
A dedicated area for baby carriages and strollers. - image © Florentyna Leow
To the left is the information counter and a stroller storage area.
The inside of the souvenir shop. - image © Florentyna Leow
To the right is a large souvenir shop.
Taking either side of the stairwell up will lead you to the fourth floor.
The My Melody shop. - image © Florentyna Leow
4F: Fourth Floor
This floor has a few shops and three eating spaces.
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? - image © Florentyna Leow
In addition to merchandise, the My Melody Shop has a very pink room you can take photos of or in.
The Dream Cafe. - image © Florentyna Leow
There's the Dream Cafe, which looks a bit like the ghost of a dream. Next to Dream Cafe is Restaurant Yakata.
In front of the Sanrio World Restaurant. - image © Florentyna Leow
Then there's the Sanrio Rainbow World Restaurant, which is essentially a very large cafeteria.
The inside of the Rainbow World Restaurant. - image © Florentyna Leow
The nice thing about it is that there's a skywell that lets plenty of natural light in. If you have to wait for a friend or child while they explore the rest of the place, this is a decent place to chill out and read a book - assuming you don’t mind the constant theme park music in the background.
A menu for omurice. - image © Florentyna Leow
They sell omelette rice, various pasta dishes, and roast beef rice bowls.
A pudding, Caesar salad, and spaghetti bolognese. - image © Florentyna Leow
The food is overpriced for what it is - average - but portion sizes are reasonably large. You'll pay a premium if you order something character-themed like a Gudetama pudding. In other words, it's standard theme park fare.
The welcome sign at the bottom of the escalators. - image © Florentyna Leow
2F: Second Floor
Taking the escalators down from the third floor, straight from the ticket barriers, will take you down to Puro Village. This zone encompasses both the first and second floors.
View of the first floor from the second. - image © Florentyna Leow
To explore the second floor, you can turn left after reaching the bottom of the escalators. From here, you'll essentially walk around a raised balcony overlooking the space around the Wisdom Tree on the first floor below.
The entrance to the Sanrio Character Boat Ride. - image © Florentyna Leow
From here, there's one ride you can go on, which is the Sanrio Character Boat Ride. This is a surprisingly popular ride and the only one you'll really see queues for, even on weekdays.
After you've finished walking around, you can take another staircase down to the first floor.
The Wisdom Tree takes center stage - literally. - image © Florentyna Leow
1F: First Floor
The first floor is mostly a mix of theatres and shops around its perimeter. In the centre is the Wisdom Tree Stage, where they stage performances and hold parades.
The Candy Factory display. - image © Florentyna Leow
There's a series of displays depicting various factories and plants, such as the candy factory or bread factory. These are sponsored by local Japanese companies such as Morinaga (the chocolate factory) or Yamazaki Baking (the bread factory). They’re not interactive displays and seem to be there primarily for decoration and world-building purposes.
Somebody must have figured out by now that no one likes clowns. - image © Florentyna Leow
Some of the displays are quite cute, but some are more like the stuff of nightmares.
The entrance to the Discovery Theatre. - image © Florentyna Leow
Theatres you’ll find on the first floor include the Fairyland Theatre and Discovery Theatre.
A performance at the Wisdom Tree Stage. - image © Florentyna Leow
You may witness an energetic dance performance at the Wisdom Tree Stage during your time there.
To get to the Sanrio Town zone from the first floor, find the big television screen and walk underneath it. This will take you to Sanrio Town.
Entrance to the Character Food Court. - image © Florentyna Leow
In addition to various shops, Sanrio Town is home to the Character Food Court, a short car ride called ~My Melody & KUROMI~ Mymeroad Drive, Strawberry Hall, Lady Kitty House, and ~Kiki & Lala~ Twinklingtour.
One of the menus at the food court. - image © Florentyna Leow
The Character Food Court serves food such as curry rice and ramen, all with Sanrio mascots on them. Excellent if you want Instagrammable photos of cute characters on your food.
Thinking pink. - image © Florentyna Leow
Next to the Character Food Court is the terrifyingly pink Mymeroad Drive ride, a 3-minute ride through the very small world of a white rabbit and her friends. Strictly for those who want photos of them on this ride, as photographs of you will be taken at every other diorama stop along the way.
Apathetic eggs unite. - image © Florentyna Leow
The entrance to the mysteriously-named Strawberry Hall, where you play games with and about Gudetama the apathetic egg.
The outside of Hello Kitty’s house in Sanrio Town. - image © Florentyna Leow
Hello Kitty fans will most likely want to visit Lady Kitty House on the second floor, which is exactly as billed - a look inside the iconic character's dwellings.
Everything you could ever want emblazoned with Hello Kitty on it, from stationery to towels to nail buffers. - image © Florentyna Leow
There’s a shop full of Hello Kitty-themed goods right outside.
No lines on a weekday. - image © Florentyna Leow
On the same floor is the ~Kiki & Lala~ Twinklingtour.
Child-sized entertainment. - image © Florentyna Leow
Outside this ride are several small merry-go-rounds, claw machines, and child-sized train carriages.
Note: To get to the Sanrio Town zone from the third floor, turn right from the ticket barriers and veer towards the souvenir shop. You should see an additional set of escalators to the right. This will take you to Sanrio Town, which spans a section of the first and second floors.
Sanrio mascot-themed instant noodles - the perfect souvenir for your friend who didn’t want to come with you. - image © Florentyna Leow
Is Sanrio Puroland worth it?
Sanrio Puroland is a day trip out of central Tokyo. It's a little bit of a schlep, so you should only visit if you fall into one of the following categories:
- You're a parent with young children. This theme park is extremely child-friendly. Everything, from the pastel-coloured, goggly-eyed characters to the energetic parades and dancing staff members, is designed to appeal to young children. The small train carriages and 3-horse merry-go-rounds in Sanrio Town are obviously for the tiny. Something to remember, however, is there aren't that many rides here. A day out at Sanrio Puroland is more about enjoying the numerous performances and parades - there's pretty much a different one every hour.
There are plenty of parent-friendly facilities like stroller storage areas and nursing rooms, and many, many seating areas around the building - a boon for parents otherwise on their feet all day. Nightmarish clowns aside, this theme park will most likely keep young kids entertained for at least a couple of hours.
Real kabuki actors are wincing just thinking about this. - image © Florentyna Leow
- You like kawaii culture and you're open to experiencing it in all forms. Well. This place is perfect for you, then! Obviously, this isn't representative of Japan in any sense, but it is an interesting look into one aspect of pop culture.
- You're already a fan of Sanrio characters. Puroland is definitely not just for kids. Much like Disneyland and Disney Sea, the theme park attracts a surprising number of adults who were just as excited - perhaps even more so - as the children to be there. You'll see couples on dates, groups of girls eating crepes, people of all ages and genders shopping for themed merchandise and getting excited over 'character food'.
- Unfortunately for some of us, Puroland is about kawaii cuteness. There’s no room here for Sanrio's more adult-oriented, satirical characters like Aggressive Retsuko and her furious death metal karaoke. If Puroland ever adds a death metal karaoke booth where you can scream out your frustrations at being a cog in the corporate machine, though, count me in for a second visit.
1-31 Ochiai, Tama City, Tokyo 〒206-8588
9:30am - 5:00pm (Hours vary; consult website before going)
Admission: JPY3,800 directly from the venue, or discounted when bought online
Train: 8-minute walk from Keio Tama Center Station on the Keio Line, or Odakyu Tama Center on the Odakyu Line.
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