High-speed bullet train
West Japan Railway Company
Hello Kitty Shinkansen is Sanrio’s themed 500 Series high-speed bullet train operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West).
The themed 500 Series Shinkansen train is decorated with images of Sanrio’s popular character Hello Kitty. It has been developed through a partnership between JR West and Sanrio.
Two 500 Series Shinkansen trains were revamped and fitted with a Hello Kitty design throughout the carriages, as well as the exterior. The bullet trains entered service into June 2018.
The new trains will operate as a Kodama service on JR West’s Sanyo Shinkansen line, which connects the western cities of Osaka and Hakata in Fukuoka, Japan. The round-trip service aims to promote the culture of regional communities in western Japan.
The service will run until September 2018 and the travel time for each trip is roughly 2.5 hours.
Hello Kitty 500 Series Shinkansen design
Both the interior and exterior of the Hello Kitty Shinkansen train are decorated with images of Hello Kitty. The train features a total of eight cars, painted in pink and white.
Pink ribbon motifs featuring Hello Kitty’s signature bow are wrapped along the white exterior of the cars.
The first two cars of the themed train have been completely revamped with cartoon images of the Hello Kitty worlds and are designated Hello! Plaza and Kawaii! Room, respectively.
Hello! Plaza is dedicated to providing regional attractions to passengers. Cars 2, 3, 7 and 8 have non-reserved seats, while the cars 4 and 6 offer reserved seating.
The bullet train features side-by-side unidirectional seats and seats with tray tables. The maximum speed of the train is 300km/h.
The Hello Kitty melody will be played in the cars when the train approaches a station.
Features of Hello Kitty 500 Series Shinkansen
Car 1’s interior is decorated in pink with special facilities such as a lounge where passengers can relax and enjoy the scenery, as well as an image corner showcasing regional attractions.
It also has a shopping space where passengers can purchase limited edition merchandise and specialty regional products.
Limited-period displays are set up in car 1 to display information about regions in the western part of the country.
Car 1 also features Tottori Hello Kitty and Shimane Hello Kitty designs to represent the Sanin Destination Campaign in Shimane and Tottori prefectures during July-September 2018.
Regional Hello Kitty characters for other prefectures are also planned to be incorporated in car 1 to represent prefectures of Osaka, Okayama, Yamaguchi, Hyogo, Fukuoka and Hiroshima.
A Hello Kitty doll in Shinkansen uniform is situated in a photo area in car 2 to allow passengers to take photographs with Hello Kitty. The car also has a special theatre area to play films.
Dedicated space for prams and luggage is also provided in the Kawaii! Room.
Routes covered by Hello Kitty Shinkansen
The Shinkansen Kodama No 730 bullet train runs from Hakata station to Shin-Osaka station in Yodogawa-ku, Osaka, while the Shinkansen Kodama No 741 runs from Shin-Osaka to Hakata station.
Stations served by the Hello Kitty Shinkansen train include Kokura, Shin-Shimonoseki, Tokuyama, Hiroshima, Fukuyama, Okayama and Shin-Kobe.
Hello Kitty Shinkansen Cafe and Marche at Hakata station
A themed Hello Kitty Shinkansen Café is set up at Hakata Station serving special dishes inspired by the character.
The special menu includes curry, Mentaiko pasta, cream daifuku set, parfait, and cappuccino.
The Hello Kitty Marché shop sells original Hello Kitty Shinkansen souvenirs.