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Riding the Hello Kitty bullet train in Japan

The front car of the Hello Kitty bullet train, or shinkansen, in Japan
The front car of the Hello Kitty bullet train, or shinkansen, in Japan

From themed cafes to mailboxes, airplanes to bullet trains, Japan has no shortage of ways to celebrate fandoms. That's why I was so excited to find a Hello Kitty themed bullet train, or shinkansen, along the route we needed to take during a day trip to Himeji Castle in Japan earlier this year!

Hello Kitty shinkansen bullet train
So much cute Hello Kitty theming on this train!


The first two cars of the train are very Hello Kitty-themed while the other cars are much more regular for a bullet train with small Hello Kitty touches. The train travels back and forth between Shin-Osaka and Fukuoka once a day.

The Hello Kitty bullet train was created to highlight the western areas of Japan. There are photo areas inside the train with the western regions and what they're known for. The outside train cars also highlight the regions.

Hello Kitty shinkansen bullet train themed regions
The highlighted western regions of Japan along the route


I followed the information in the Japan Rail Pass blog here. Since there's only one train like this, I suggest double-checking the information before booking your tickets. I was still afraid I screwed up and didn't calm down until that pink baby came into the station!

Hello Kitty shinkansen bullet train
Everyone took photos of the outside of this train!

The Shop

The first car of the train has a little Hello Kitty shop with bullet train-themed items. I picked up a pen with Hello Kitty dressed as a train conductor. (I don't have photos of the shop as it was pretty busy with other riders so I purchased my pen and moved along.)

The Verdict

Was it worth the hassle to try and figure out how to book this train? My husband would say no but I say of course it was worth it! The train was adorable and coming from the States where we don't have anything cute for transportation, I wanted to find a way on this train.


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