Tuesday, 29 March 2016
Pretty in Puroland for the 25th anniversary!
Puroland is one of the places that many people miss when they come to Tokyo, which is such a shame because its every kawaii enthusiasts dream. The entire building is built like a rainbow fairytale castle and twinkles beautifully at night time, enough to rival even the Cinderella castle at Disneyland.
The whole park is inside and based around the world of the Sanrio characters, which is both extremely cute and very, very surreal. Although it doesn't look so big from the outside, the park stretches underground and features many rooms, rides and restaurants, enough to warrant an entire daytrip there. We visited for the 25th anniversary of Puroland, which is an incredibly long time and was reflected in the elaborate decor and attention to detail.
Of course the star of the show is Hello Kitty, there are various rides, attractions and even a stage show inside the park dedicated to her. As you can see the decor is very medieval and European inspired, which makes sense as Kitty-chan is supposedly British. Oh and she isnt a cat either, shes a...Human who happens to look like a cat? As confirmed by the Sanrio higher-ups. If you are lucky enough you can even spot her feline-looking boyfriend Daniel walking around the park among other mascots. I feel like Kitty inspired the furry trend I see so often on Tumblr these days hehe.
When you arrive you'll instantly notice that everything is sugary and adorable, no expense was spared to give you the fuzzies. Of course there are a lot of small children at the park, as these mascots are so popular (and probably aimed at children, lets be honest), but actually there were a lot of cute couples on dates there, so guys shouldn't feel ashamed to go have a look. There were a lot of Japanese girls wearing Lolita and also popular Jfashion brands such as LizLisa, it was great even to just people watch.
The main heart of the park is called the "Happiness Tree" from which everything else grows around, you can actually go inside the happiness tree and ring the "Happiness Bell" at the top. I am not sure what kind of kawaii sorcery it was infused with, but I did feel a little happier afterwards...
There was also a very cute machine with two mirrors and a screen; two people have to stand in front of the mirrors and put one hand on each mirror, and then hold hands with the other, then the screen will light up and tell you what your "Love Love Match %" is from 1 to 100. The cute thing is that the screen only turns on when you are holding hands, like real magic!
Eventhough the theme and feel is very European, they did add splashes of Japanese culture here and there, with an adorable Japanese tea room and a huge decorated "Kumade" covered in the various Sanrio mascots, can you name them all? There are literally hundreds of Sanrio characters right now, it was fun wandering around the park and spotting them, whilst learning new ones. At the moment Gudetama is the reigning king for popularity, if you are lucky enough you can spot his kind-of-cute-kind-of-creepy mascot slinking around, yawning.
Since I visited last year they have added a new Cafe, the "My Melody Dream Cafe" which served the most ridiculously cute desserts and drinks, as well as the main restaurant, so there was plenty of choice for food and drink. The restaurant even served beer!
Then I had a "Pink Bear Plate" which I dubbed "Teddy Bear's Crime Scene", the whole thing looked very gruesome, but tasted delicious. I am always amazed at how airy Japanese cakes and sweets are, they aren't as sweet as British or American ones too, which is good for me, as I can eat more.
My friend had an adorable My Melody woodland themed dessert; a chocolate roll slice was used to make the log and chocolate dusting was used for soil, and little "Kinokonoyama" chocolates were used for mushrooms! Again, it was little attention to details like this that makes Puroland so charming.
The theme for our trip was "Swankiss" as we all wore outfits from that brand in Shibuya 109 for a sparkly fairy kind of look, everyone looked so cute and fresh! Puroland is the perfect place to dress up if you are ever shy to wear fancy fashion in the city.
There are also about five different rides, albeit very small ones, are very whimsical and enjoyable. They are clearly aimed at very small children, but that doesn't stop them from being fun. My favorite of which is a boat ride around the happiness tree, that lets you look down on the people below and travels through the world of Pom Pom Purin (the yellow dog with the pudding head) during that section, a really delicious pudding smell is wafted down onto the ride too!
The finally, the reason that most people go to Puroland is to buy lots and lots of Sanrio goods. They had uncountable amounts of souvenir shops selling everything from stickers and clothes to perfume and beauty products. Remember giving Omiyage "souveniers" is very important in Japan when you go somewhere nice, so if you go to Puroland remember to bring me back something!
Puroland is about 45 minutes from the city center of Shinjuku by train, so it is a little ways out, but worth the wait! It is situated in Tama-center aptly named "Sanrio Town"so there are plenty of cute attractions laying aroung town too. The entry to Puroland is about 3000yen depending on season, but the goods and food were relatively cheap!
Also fun fact - Tama Center was the setting for the popular Anime "To Aru Kagaku no Railgun", so you can see many of the locations of that anime there! Have fun travelling!