Meet your new Shinkansen conductor: Hello Kitty! West Japan Railway Company is launching the first Sanrio bullet train, open to the public on June 30. It will run a daily 2.5 hour trip on the Sanyo Shinkansen line between Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka and JR Hakata Station in Fukuoka for a duration of three months. The firm hopes to boost tourism with the incentive of Hello Kitty branding, but Tokyo locals are eager as well to be among the first to take a themed JR ride.
Brought to life in 1974, Hello Kitty celebrates her 44th birthday by zipping around the Kansai region. All eight cars are adorable, inside and out. The sleek white exterior is adorned with pink stripes and Kitty’s signature bow. Inside, you’re greeted by images and symbols of Japan’s favorite feline everywhere you turn. The walls are polka-dotted, the seats are pink and purple – as are the gift shop, guide map and Captain Kitty statue (perfect for photo ops).
Nothing like an explosion of pink kawaii characters to brighten up a train commute.
More info at www.jr-hellokittyshinkansen.jp