The Japan Railway West Co., better known as JR West, premiered a Hello Kitty bullet train service on its Sanyo Shinkansen line on June 2018. At the moment, like other special shinkansen trains before, it seems that this train will run for a limited time, for now it’s not known until when but, according to JR West, it will be announced 4-month a time.
This new must-do item has chosen Hello Kitty’s iconic red ribbon as the main theme, as a way to represent the strengthening of the ties between the Shinkansen services and the western part of the country. The best part? It’s included in your JR Pass!
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Hello Kitty Shinkansen route
Following the big hit character Evangelion train, that ran from late 2015 until May of this year, the new Hello Kitty-themed bullet train promises to be a worthy successor.
Hello Kitty bullet train features
The first two cars will be decked out in full Hello Kitty adorable fashion, with motifs from the famous Sanrio character and her friends and even a photo booth!
The first car, called Hello! Plaza, will not have any passenger seats, instead, it will showcase local specialities, delicacies, and souvenirs from the regions in the new JR West’s line, which passengers will be able to enjoy and buy.
The second car named Kawaii! Room will be a passenger car covered from top to bottom with the popular Sanrio feline character and her friends, featuring a Hello Kitty doll in Shinkansen uniform.
Besides, instead of the usual Shinkansen jingle, the train will ring the original Hello Kitty theme tune as it approaches the stations!
Paying homage to Western Japan
JR West will highlight every region along the new bullet train’s itinerary. They’ve released eight original Hello Kitty designs holding a local delicacy from each of the places the train stops, like a green apple for Tottori prefecture, a strawberry for Fukuoka, and a black shell for Shimane prefecture.
The first region to be highlighted is Sanin, home to the Shimane and Tottori prefectures, and Osaka, Hyogo, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Fukuoka will soon follow. In Okayama Station, you can even get your Hello Kitty ekiben (shinkansen-shaped take away box)!
Also, a special Hello Kitty café and a souvenir shop, selling exclusive merchandises related to Hello Kitty Shinkansen, is also open from June 30th at Hakata Station in Fukuoka. And
How to ride the Hello Kitty bullet train
The Hello Kitty Shinkansen is included with your JR Pass, so you can ride it for free as any Kodama shinkansen service. Though it is not necessary, we strongly advise you to reserve your seat, since chances are high it will be packed for the duration of its run.
If you wish to ride on the very special train, especially car 2 Kawaii! Room, don’t forget to reserve your seat at any JR Office. The train numbers are Kodama 840 (Hakata to Shin-Osaka) and Kodama 851 (Shin-Osaka to Hakata).
Hello Kitty Shinkansen timetable
Please find below the Hello Kitty Shinkansen daily schedule (with train number) and all the stops and stations so you can plan your trip to purrrfection!
|Station||Kodama 851 departure||Kodama 840 departure|
|Hakata (Fukuoka)||16:11 (Arrival)||6:32|
Hello Kitty Shinkansen operation calendar
The Hello Kitty Shinkansen will be also operating in 2020 and 2021 so check out the operating days calendar before your trip to ensure your Hello Kitty experience! In the following calendar you will find the operation days with a pink ribbon.
- Pink ribbon: Operation days
- /: Non-operative days