Hello Kitty Shinkansen: The cutest bullet train

Hello Kitty Shinkansen

The Japan Railway West Co., better known as JR West, debuted 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-months a time.

This exciting train boasts 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!

Hello Kitty Shinkansen route

Following the big hit character Evangelion train, which ran from late 2015 until May 2022, the Hello Kitty-themed bullet train has proven to be a worthy successor.

The adorable train provides a Kodama service on the Sanyo Shinkansen line, which connects the western cities of Osaka and Fukuoka.

Sanyo Shinkansen

The train makes stops at each station between Shin-Osaka and Hakata Station in western Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture, including Kobe, Okayama, and Hiroshima, and has some unique features.

Hello Kitty bullet train features

The first two cars are 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, does not have any passenger seats. Instead, it showcases local specialities, delicacies, and souvenirs from the regions in the new JR West’s line.

Hello Kitty interior
Hello! Plaza

The second car named Kawaii! Room is 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.

Kawaii! Room

Additionally, instead of the usual Shinkansen jingle, the train rings the original Hello Kitty theme tune as it approaches the stations!

Paying homage to Western Japan

JR West is highlighting 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.

Hello Kitty train route and regions
Itinerary and highlighted regions

The first region to be highlighted was Sanin, home to the Shimane and Tottori prefectures. Osaka, Hyogo, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Fukuoka soon followed. 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 operating  at Hakata Station in Fukuoka.

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 838 (Hakata to Shin-Osaka) Station Kodama 849 (Shin-Osaka to Hakata)
Hakata (Fukuoka) 7:04 Shin-Osaka 11:37
Kokura 7:22 Shin-Kobe 11:50
Shin-Shimonoseki 7:31 Nishi-Akashi 12:01
Asa 7:44 Himeji 12:15
Shin-Yamaguchi 7:53 Aioi 12:27
Tokuyama 8:10 Okayama 12:50
Shin-Iwakuni 8:23 Shin-Kurashiki 13:02
Hiroshima 8:38 Fukuyama 13:16
Higashi-Hiroshima 8:52 Shin-Onomichi 13:29
Mihara 9:12 Mhara 13:41
Shin-Onomichi 9:18 Higashi-Hiroshima 13:56
Fukuyama 9:31 Hiroshima 14:08
Shin-Kurashiki 9:45 Shin-Iwakuni 14:29
Okayama 10:09 Tokuyama 14:42
Aioi 10:35 Shin-Yamaguchi 14:58
Himeji 10:48 Asa 15:11
Nishi-Akashi 11:02 Shin-Shimonoseki 15:24
Shin-Kobe 11:12 Kokura 15:34
Shin-Osaka 11:25 Hakata 15:51

Hello Kitty Shinkansen operation calendar

Check out the operating days calendar before your trip to ensure your Hello Kitty experience in 2024!

Operation days are marked on the calendar with a pink ribbon.

  • Pink ribbon: Operation days
  • /: Non-operative days

hello kitty shinkansen calendar 2024

For the latest information, please check https://www.jr-hellokittyshinkansen.jp/en/.

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121 thoughts on “Hello Kitty Shinkansen: The cutest bullet train”
    1. Hi Mieko,

      So far it is only confirmed until June 30. Do not hesitate to check again soon for more information about the summer months.

      Happy travels!

  1. Hi, may i know is the hello kitty shinkansen will be operating on 2020?
    If yes, can i know the updated timetable?

    1. Hi Violet! The Hello Kitty Shinkansen has been confirmed until February 2020. Notification of the operation schedule from March 2020 will be made when it is determined. Happy travels!

  2. Hi, I happen to visit Osaka from 15th of Dec to 7th of January 2020. How can i know the timetable for December 2019? Thanks

  3. May I know if this train will still operate in December 2019 when I visited Kansai?

  4. Hi. May i know Hello Kitty Train will operation on 15/12/2019 (Sunday) from Shin Osaka station to Hakata station? Any green car cabin for JR green car pass holders?

  5. I travelled on the Hello Kitty Shinkansen from Hiroshima to Hakata in October 2018, so glad it is still running – it was fun.

    1. Dear Sir/ Madam;
      I am planning to travel in Japan in January, 2020. I wonder if Hello Kitty Shinkansen will operate by January 2020?
      Thanks for replying.

    2. Phoebe, remember the previous special shinkansen, the ‘EVA’ train, ran for… three years I think.

      So I hope the ‘Hello Kitty’ train will run for a long time too, it only started last year. We just have to wait for the schedule! I am taking my daughter to Japan in September/October, she really wants to ride ‘Hello Kitty’!

      (And I hope they bring back the ‘EVA’ train one day! It was the best shinkansen – but we never got a chance to ride it 🙁 )

    1. Hi Dale! Japan Railways has not yet determined operation schedule from October 2019. As soon as it is public we will make sure to update the article – stay tunned 😉

  6. Is the HK train operating on Sunday, July 7th? It is highlighted in pink on the calendar but, below the calendars, it is listed as not operational (“July 6-10”). Just wanted to clarify. Thank you.

  7. Hi,
    I don’t see schedule for september 2019, will it be available soon ?

  8. Hello, do you have the dates for when the Hello Kitty Shinkansen will operate for later months in the year?
    Many thanks,

    1. Oh, apologies. I have just seen your response regarding the next schedule coming out in July. Thank you. 🙂

  9. Hello, I’d like to ride the hello Kitty! shinkansen on 28th April.
    I have a Kansai+Hiroshima pass (5 days).
    Can I still book reserved seats?
    Otherwise, how do I do to guarantee a seat?
    thank you!

  10. Hi! My mother and brother will be going to Japan later this year, by the end of September to early October I believe. I was checking the schedule for this as they were interested in the Hello Kitty Shinkansen and was wondering if there was a way to check what are the operating dates for it around then as it’s not included yet on the calendar on here.

  11. Hello, I live overseas and I will be traveling to Japan end of March and would love to take the Hello Kitty Bullet train on March 31. I have read several articles that you can reserve in advance but I haven’t found a link to do a reservation online. They all keep redirecting me to the JR pass. Is there a way to reserve online from overseas for this specific shinkansen or do I have to reserve when I get to Japan? I don’t want to miss this opportunity to ride this beautiful train. Thank you.

    1. Hi Patsy!

      To reserve a seat you need to have the actual Japan Rail Pass and its exchange can only be done once you reach Japan. Here’s how to book a seat:

      1. Please take your Japan Rail Pass to any JR Ticket Office (Midori-no-madoguchi), spread through all Japanese train stations. Alternatively, go to a Travel Service Center or a Travel Agency ticket sales office.

      2. Once at the ticket office, you will be asked about your destination and preferred departure time. You can also look up the train times in advance, or get help from one of the friendly staff members to find the best option for your trip.

      3. You will be handed your reserved seat ticket, stating departure time, arrival time, train name, car and seat. For example: Nagoya – Kyoto / 14:19 – 15:11 / Hikari 513, Car 11, Seat 5-B.

      Happy travels!

  12. Hi,

    I will be traveling to Osaka soon, and I would love to take my children to catch the Hello Kitty Train, I had read a few articles on the train routes but I am still not sure if the train is available at the cities I will be visiting. Can you please help? We are planning to travel from Osaka to Kyoto and Nara, it would be lovely if we are able to catch the Hello Kitty Train. Thank you.

  13. Hello..

    I booked the hello kitty shinkansen for Feb 2019. I get a seat on 6 cars. Is it possible to walk to the 1st and 2nd car while on board? Thank you.

    1. I would travel to Jp in Aug 2019. When will be the schedule of Hello Kitty train announced? Thanks a lots.

  14. Hi. Is there a rail pass for nagoya – osaka – kyoto – himeji – hiroshima line? Thank you.

  15. I will be in Tokyo 3/25 and in Osaka 3/27. I would like to ride the hello kitty train on 3/28. Should I book them when I got to Tokyo or wait until I got to Osaka. How full is this train?

  16. Hello!

    I will go to Osaka on 6 – 10 March 2019. Can I ride Hello Kitty Shinkansen from Osaka using JR Wide Kansai Area Pass?
    Could you give me the schedule of Hello Kitty Shinkansen?

  17. I will get to Osaka airport. On 3/26 and I believe the pass does not cover train from airport to Osaka citi center so I have to buy separate ticket, right? What is the best way to get to city center? The next day we would like to take hello kitty train, do you think we will still have a seat ?
    Where in Osaka we can exchange our Jr pass? In the airport or in the city? What is their office our on 3/26? Thank you

    1. Hi Nancy!

      To travel from the Kansai Airport to the city of Osaka, board the Limited Express Haruka at the Kansai Airport Station using your Japan Rail Pass. Take the Haruka to Shin-Osaka Station, a journey of about one hour. At Shin-Osaka, transfer to a local train to Osaka Station. The trip from Shin-Osaka to Osaka takes only three to four minutes.

      You can activate your Japan Rail Pass either at the airport or in the city center.

      Happy travels!

  18. I will in Osaka end of March. Does hello kitty train run daily or just certain days of the week?

    1. Hi Nancy! March dates are not fully announced yet – so far, Hello Kitty Shinkansen has been confirmed to be running until March 10th, and it will be operating all ten days of the month. Further dates are yet to be announced – stay tunned!

  19. Hello, I was just wondering when the summer 2019 schedule will be confirmed? Keen to find out about August 2019 but schedule only seems to be running until March 10 at the moment – thank you

  20. Hello,

    Will there be new schedule from Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima with Hello Kitty train in April 2019?
    I would love to be able to reserve to go with my daughter.
    Thank you.

  21. Is there any chance this will be changed to a Tokyo to Kyoto Itinerary. Perfect for us foreign travelers to get back and forth. I have a party of 15 people, March 14, 2019. They would be crazy happy to ride this on that route.

  22. Is it possible for me to go for a day trip to Kobe from Shin-Osaka with Hello Kitty Shinkansen.

    1. Hi Ka! Notification of the operation status from February 2019 onwards is yet to be determined. Keep an eye on our article to make sure you don’t miss the updates! The Hello Kitty Shinkansen reaches Shin-Osaka at 11:29h and reached Hakata (Fukuoka) at 15:38h. Enjoy your stay!

  23. Hi, may I ask if I can buy a single trip ticket (for example from Shin Osaka to Okayama) and able to sit this Hello kitty Shinkansen? Without having to buy a JR pass?

  24. Hi there
    i am going to Japan in January
    Can anyone confirm if the hello kitty train will still be in action and if so, how do I book.


  25. Hi! Just want to confirm that both Kodama 730 and Kodama 741 actually is the same Hello Kitty Shinakansen? Just in different direction?

  26. On the Hello Kitty! Train, they offer a Hello Kitty! Bento box set. How do you buy that???? I want to try one sooooo much!!!!!

  27. Hello, I would like to book from Hiroshima to Fukuoka on the 15th October – will it be too late to reserve seats on the 8th? that’s when I will be in Japan. I have a J Rail pass.

  28. Hi, I will arrive Fukuoka Airport on 17 Nov 2018. When I arrive Fukuoka, I would like to book 19 Nov 2018 Hello Kitty Shinkansen from Fukuoka to Osaka. I bought the 7 days JR Pass. May I know where can I do the booking? If I make the booking on 17 Nov 2018 for 19 Nov 2018 travel from Fukuoka to Osaka, may I know the start date of my 7 Days JR pass will be from 17 Nov 2018 or 19 Nov 2018?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Kristine!

      The activation date of your Japan Rail Pass is the date you wish to start using your pass. Any date that is within 30 days of the exchange date can be selected as “Activation”, so it can be either 17 or 19th November.

      To reserve your seat please take your Japan Rail Pass to any JR Ticket Office (Midori-no-madoguchi), spread through all Japanese train stations. Alternatively, go to a Travel Service Center or a Travel Agency ticket sales office.

      Happy travels!

  29. Hello! Will this special edition be available again in 2019? I am planning a trip to Fukuoka in June 2019 and am looking forward to this.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Janice! Notification of the operation status from December 2018 onwards will be made when it is determined. Keep an eye on our article to make sure you don’t miss the updates!

  30. Are there any updates on whether the Hello Kitty Shinkansen will be extended beyond October? I will be in Fukuoka area heading to Osaka in mid November and debating if I should fly or take the shinkansen. If the Hello Kitty train is still running then I would definitely do that! Thank you

    1. Hi MeiMei,

      Yes, the Hello Kitty Shinkansen will be operating at least until November 30th. Please check the last part of our post for updated calendar and timetable information.

      Happy travels!

  31. I rode the Hello Kitty shinkansen yesterday Aug 25 from Hishi-Akashi to Okyama. As well as being cute it has a an extremely high standard of interior comfort, comparable to the Green Car on other services. I hope it will continue in service past October and I think other regions of Japan would welcome it.

    Hello Kitty Shinkansen 万歳!

  32. Hello, my family of four will be in Osaka at the end of August for 7 days and I am planning to purchase a 7 day JR pass. I understand that I can only book seats upon arrival In Japan, after exchanging the voucher for the pass. We are very much looking forward to ride on the hello kitty train. Would you please let me know whether it is easy to reserve a seat a day or two in advance? Or is there a way I could reserve ahead from outside of Japan? Thanks.

  33. Hi, Will the Hello Kitty Shinkansen run on September 11th, 2018? Or where can I know the off dates of the train? Thanks!

    1. Hi Martha! You can check off dates at the train’s official website. In September 11th is will be operating normally, the off dates in September are expected to be 3rd to 5th and 26th to 28th (all included). Please note that as a result of operation conditions and other reasons, there may be occasions when sudden changes occur in train status and scheduling. Happy travels!

  34. Hi,

    Tried to reserve to car 2 and were told car 2 is not resereved. So I got tickets for car 4 instead.
    Is it really non-reservable, or was it a problem in communication due to language barriers?

    If it may be reserved, how can I try to change our seats?

    Also, if not, is it possible to visit cars 1 and 2, either at the platform or during the ride itself?

    I’m asking because my daughter is a high Hello Kitty fan, and this ride just may end up being one of our trip’s highlights…

  35. thank you for your reply. Can we book and reserve our seats for hello kitty train after we exchange our standard blue JRpass at Haneda international airport We are arriving Sept 14. Planning Sept. 17 from Osaka station to Fukuoka station our Hello kitty train trip.

  36. hi I don’t know if my post comment got in. We will be there this coming Sept. 16 or 17 to ride the hello kitty train. Can book already and get our seats in advance after we buy our japan rail pass. can you give us a good advice. We are afraid we will run out of seat that day using the hello kitty train.
    How many hello kitty train schedule in a day from Osaka station to Fukuoka station.
    Eugene thank you

    1. hi, find out at Hyperdia the bullit train kodama 741 that cost 9,610 yen from shin-osaka to Hakata. can we pay now and reserve our seat with the cost of 5,390 yen this will be this coming Sept. 17. the other question is if we have a japan rail pass are we still paying for seat reservation

    2. Hi this is Eugene again how is hello kitty train after this big typhoon that hit Osaka . Is the operation of hello kitty train still continue . We will ride the hello kitty train this sept. 17 from shi-Osaka to F ukuoka station. What is your advise to us. Is hello kitty train operational on that date .

      Thank you

  37. Hi,
    According to the time table on this site, the Kodama 730 leaving Hiroshima on 8:13 arrives to Higashi-Hiroshima on 8:37.
    On the other hand, according to Hyperdia, the same treain reaches Higashi-Horoshima on 8:24.

    Which is the correct time of arrival?


    1. Hi NC! The table in this article provides the departure times; that is, according to it, the Hello Kitty Shinkansen leaves Higashi-Hiroshima at 8:37. It stays some minutes at each stop to allow passengers to board and exit the train. Enjoy your stay!

  38. USing JR PAss to ride on the Hello KItty SHinkansen train, is it a one way ride?
    I am from Shin-Osaka and want to go to Hiroshima can i go back on the same day from Hiroshima to Shin-Osaka?

    1. Hi Adlin! Please check the timetable part on this article. As you will see, 2 Hello Kitty services will run daily: Kodama 730 from Hakata to Shin-Osaka between 6.40 and 11.13h and Kodama 741 from Shin-Osaka to Hakata between 11.29 to 15.38h.

  39. How much is the single train ticket from tama center to shin Osaka station . And single train ticket from shi Osaka station to Fukuoka station by Japan rail. Trying to see were I will going to save money. Thank you

    1. Hi Eugene! To get the price detail please check Hyperdia. Hyperdia offers detailed timetables, platform information, trip duration and exact distance, which will help you greatly in organizing your trips in Japan.

    1. Hi Ed! As detailed in this article, at the moment it is confirmed that this train will run until October 2018, when the company will announce either its continuance or the end of its run. It will run nearly every day. Enjoy your stay!

    2. Thanks for the reply! You said nearly everyday. Where can I find out it’s off days, as we are planning to ride it in Aug.

  40. Hi, if I managed to book my seats in car 4, may I leave my luggage at my seats to visit car 1 and 2 for photos?

  41. Is JRail pass that is only good for daily use not 7 days on Hello kitty train.

    1. Hi Eugene! The Japan Rail Pass is a multi-use all-you-can-ride discounted rail ticket. It gives you unlimited access to all Japan Rail National trains, as well as JR bus services, ferry services, and airport transfers. Validity can either be 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days, and thus it is not possible to have a Japan Rail Pass for one single day.

  42. Hi, We will be there this coming Sept. My daughter like to ride your hello kitty train and tour your puroland sanrio. Can tell me what is the best way to go to puroland and get a train ticket of hello kitty train. is JR pass is applicable to use in hello kitty train and how to purchase the pass.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Eugene! Yes – as specified in this article, the Hello Kitty bullet train is included in your JR Pass. Tama-Center, the city of Hello Kitty, is about 30 minutes by train from Shinjuku and roughly 60 minutes from Tokyo Station. Access via the Keio Line from JR. Enjoy your stay!

    2. thank you for your reply. now we are booking our flight to Osaka international air port. Now my question are how can we get in to Shin-osaka station from the our air port can we buy a daily jr pass instead of 7 day jr pass to be use in hello kitty train from the air port. If we can how much is the daily jr pass. or direct us in the best way possible. We will still travel by train from osaka to haneda tokyo by train to see the Puroland in tama japan.

  43. I hope it continues running after oct coz I will be in Japan for end of year holidays

  44. This is so exciting!! The Hello Kitty train looks amazing! Could you tell me if the train will be running until the end of October? I will be in Fukuoka on October 28 until mid-Nov and would love the chance to ride on it. Thank you!

  45. Hi, I will be in Japan at the end of October (28th), could you please tell me if the train will still be running then? Thank you! 🙂

    1. Hi Christine! As specified in this article, at the moment it is confirmed that this train will run until October 2018, when the company will announce either its continuance or the end of its run. Given this approach you would not be able to ride it by October 28th but if you are lucky they may announce its continuace 😉

  46. Will this shinkansen still be operative in September?
    Also, can I book tickets in advance from home, or do I need to do it in a JR station in Japan?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Ori! As detailed in this article, at the moment it is confirmed that this train will run until October 2018, when the company will announce either its continuance or the end of its run. Enjoy your stay!

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