All aboard! Hello Kitty bullet train debuts in Japan

Agence France-Presse
The bullet train will run for the next 3 months between the western cities of Osaka and Fukuoka

HELLO KITTY.  The Hello Kitty train will serve the cities of Osaka and Fukuoka for 3 months. Photo by West Japan Railway / Handout /AFP

TOKYO, Japan –  A sleek “Hello Kitty” bullet train festooned with images of the global icon from Japan began services on Saturday, June 30, drawing hundreds of fans to its opening ceremony.

The special white and shocking pink shinkansen or bullet train departed from Hakata station in Fukuoka for Osaka, waved off by a conductor dressed in a Hello Kitty outfit  complete with the character’s trademark pink ribbon  and watched by a crowd of some 400, according to local media.

The train will run for the next 3 months between the western cities of Osaka and Fukuoka, the West Japan Railway Company said, hoping that one of the country’s most famous exports will boost tourism.

Inside the train, Hello Kitty smiles down from the shades of every window, while one car features a “life-sized Hello Kitty doll” for fans to take selfies with.

SELFIES.  Photo shows a spot inside a Shinkansen train for passengers to pose with popular character Hello Kitty, as seen at the Hakata car maintenance center in Fukuoka prefecture.
 Photo by  West Japan Railway / Handout /AFP

Another car will have no passenger seats but offer regional specialities, including a selection of goods and foods, in a bid to boost the local economy and tourism.

Hello Kitty has spawned a multi-billion-dollar industry since Sanrio introduced it in 1974, adorning everything from pencil cases and pyjamas to double-decker buses and airliners.

In 2015 the West Japan Railway Company unveiled a “Hogwarts Express” Harry Potter themed bullet train that ran between Osaka to Kagoshima in western Japan. Rappler.com

The Hello Kitty theme just adds more excitement to the boarding experience of this Japanese icon. Plan your trip to Japan with a Klook coupon code to maximize your budget!