Hello Kitty Shinkansen: The cutest bullet train

Hello Kitty Shinkansen

The Japan Railway West Co., better known as JR West, will debut a Hello Kitty bullet train service on its Sanyo Shinkansen line, June 30th, 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!

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.

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

Sanyo Shinkansen

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

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.

Hello Kitty interior
Hello! Plaza

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.

Kawaii! Room

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.

Hello Kitty train route and regions
Itinerary and highlighted regions

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 730 (Hakata to Shin-Osaka) and Kodama 741 (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!

Kodama 730 (Hakata to Shin-Osaka)Kodama 741 (Shin-Osaka to Hakata)
StationDeparture timeStationDeparture time
Hakata (Fukuoka)6:40Shin-Osaka11:29
 Shin-Osaka11:13Hakata (Fukuoka)15:38

Also, keep in mind that the Hello Kitty Shinkansen does not operate on the following days:

  • September 3rd to September 5th
  • September 26th to September 28th
  • October 21th to October 24th
  • November 2nd
  • November 4th
  • November 13rd to November 15th
  • November 26th
  • December 5th to December 7th
  • December 26th to December 28th
  • January 21st to January 23rd
  • February 13th to February 15th

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52 thoughts on “Hello Kitty Shinkansen: The cutest bullet train”
  1. Hi! Just want to confirm that both Kodama 730 and Kodama 741 actually is the same Hello Kitty Shinakansen? Just in different direction?

  2. 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!!!!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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…

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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 😉

  20. 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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