Get on board with the country’s cutest Shinkansen at its official limited-time cafe.
Wherever you go in Japan, there’s always something new and exciting happening to pique the interest of locals and visiting tourists, and this summer everyone’s scrambling to get a seat on the a Hello Kitty Shinkansen bullet train.
The new high-speed train, which began running on 30 June, is currently shuttling passengers to and from Osaka’s Shin-Osaka Station and Hakata Station in Fukuoka on the Sanyo Shinkansen line. Adorned inside and out with details dedicated to Sanrio’s world-famous character, this is a journey that Hello Kitty fans from around the world are keen to take, but if you’re not able to make the trip, don’t despair – the train now has a Hello Kitty Shinkansen cafe open for a limited time as well.
While a peek inside the Shinkansen itself is limited only to passengers who’ve booked a ticket on the train, the Hello Kitty Shinkansen Cafe is open for everyone to visit. However, seeing as it’s located past the turnstiles inside Hakata Station, if you’re not taking a train you’ll need to buy a platform ticket, which costs 140 yen (US$1.27) for adults and 70 yen for children, and has a two-hour time limit.
Once you’re inside, the cafe is easy to find, as it shines bright like a beacon covered in pretty pink bows. Out the front is a faux Hello Kitty Shinkansen platform, which acts as a photo spot for tourists, showing Kitty dressed in her rail attendant uniform, standing next to her equally cute-looking train.
Once you’ve stopped for a photo, it’s time to head inside, where even more cuteness awaits.
▼ First, there’s a beautiful miniature model of the limited-edition bullet train.
▼ Once you sit down, you get to receive a pretty placemat…
▼ And if you order a drink with your meal you can choose from one of 20 cute coasters.
When we visited, we were given a selection of two menus: the cafe’s regular menu, which also comes with a special morning selection…
And the far more colourful and appealing Hello Kitty Shinkansen menu, which offers up goodies like: a Pollock Cream Pasta for 1,200 yen; a Sweets Plate for 1,000 yen; a Parfait for 800 yen; a Float for 700 yen; a Cream Daifuku Japanese Sweet and Coffee Set for 700 yen, and an adorable cappuccino for 700 yen.
We decided to splurge by ordering the most expensive, and most hearty, dish on the menu: the cute Hello Kitty Curry for 1,500 yen. And to make sure we received a free cute coaster, we added an iced coffee to our meal for 300 yen.
When the curry arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it looked just as adorable as it did in the picture!
Hello Kitty, decked out in an edible train conductor hat, was bursting out from the plate, surrounded by a deliciously sweet and flavourful curry. Adding to the kawaii cuteness of the meal were star-shaped carrots and a star-shaped meat patty and fried potato, along with a heart-shaped croquette. Just looking at this dish filled us with happiness as we ate our meal!
For fans who prefer to take Hello Kitty home rather than eat her, there’s also a special shop at the station, located in the Hikari Square area outside of the turnstiles.
Here fans can fill up on all sorts of limited-edition merchandise dedicated to the unique Shinkansen train collaboration, including cute keyrings and stationery.
If you’re a Hello Kitty fan heading to Fukuoka, you’ll definitely have a good time at the new store and cafe at Hakata Station. And if you’re able to step onboard the Hello Kitty Shinkansen, there’s even more cuteness in store for you, with its amazing kawaii interiors.
Hello Kitty Shinkansen Cafe / ハローキティ新幹線カフェ
Address: Fukuoka-ken, Fukuoka-shi, Hakata-ku Hakata Eki Chuo-gai 1-1
Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. every day
Related: Hello Kitty Shinkansen Official Page
Photos © SoraNews24