Want a unique Japanese experience? Then ride the bullet train, the Shinkansen as they are called. Want a really, really cute and unique Japanese Experience, then ride the Hello Kitty Shinkansen And want to know the best part … It’s already included in your JR rail pass. We got our passes from Japan Rail Pass, and once the stupid COVID19 is over you will be able to get your passes from them again.
Even if you don’t know Hello Kitty it is still a super Japanese-esque experience to ride a themed bullet train.
- $0 included in JR Pass
- Daily timetable
- Photo opps+++
- Low Risk
- Ages: 0 to 80+
- Kid friendly
- Duration 2 1/2 hours
It is a hassle free, online ordering process that you must do before you leave your country and arrive in Japan. I got myself and the boys a seven day pass as we took seven days to rail around the country and five days in Toyko where we didn’t need this kind of pass. But more on passes later, for now back to Hello Kitty. Be prepared for cuteness overload!
So through no good planning whatsoever we just lucked into the Hello Kitty bullet train on our Osaka to Hiroshima leg. I had planned to try and catch it from Kyoto to Osaka (don’t think it does this leg now), but we didn’t manage it as I am not someone to book ahead for trains. Too stressful for me as I like to take the time I want to take, not governed by timetables.
One of my boys was very much into Kawaii (the Japanese cuteness culture) so I really wanted to share this experience with him. We were not disappointed. Even if you don’t know Hello Kitty (where have you been … child-free perhaps …) it is still a super Japanese-esque experience to ride a themed bullet train.
So as you can see she is fitted out with a whole range of Hello Kitty branding. From the outside, this bullet train is all pinks and golds and kitties. Once inside the theme continues. Just note, not all carriages are themed, head towards the front of the train for the best experience. Here you will find Hello Kitty seats, headrest covers, trays, signs and even themed toilets and bins. Plus the Hello Kitty merchandise shop onboard the train, with yes Hello Kitty galore. And a giant Hello Kitty in a train guard’s uniform to have your photo with. Everything on board, apart for the shop and food, is already included in your JR Pass. So not only is this fun and unique, but you have already paid for it.
The Hello Kitty Shinkansen is running in 2020, timetables here, look for the pink bows, but no doubt will be messed up with COVID19 on the loose. So best check closer to your travel dates. It’s about a 2 1/2 hour trip from Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima and given all the exploring you have to do on board the time goes really quickly. All bullet trains are fun, but this one is fun x 10 and dressed in pink. Make sure you get yourself onboard! Cheers Le
Bullet Train Do’s and Don’ts
- Do be early – bullet trains run on time
- Do keep behind the yellow lines on the platform
- Do let people get off first before you get on
- Do bring your own food to avoid the limited and more expensive range on board
- Do travel light as there is not a huge amount of on board storage
- Do use headphones
- Don’t be late, bullet trains wait for no one
- Don’t sit on the ground while waiting on the platform – a guard will tell you off – even kids
- Don’t be surprised if you are susceptible to travel sickness, trains go fast and you can feel the motion
- Don’t bring smelly / messy food
- Don’t put your bags on the seats – either under them or in the designated areas