1. Hello Kitty Resort
    Photo: SanrioHello Kitty Smile
  2. Hello Kitty Resort
    Photo: SanrioHello Kitty Show Box

Best things to do at the Hello Kitty island resort

Awaji Island in Hyogo has a resort dedicated to Sanrio’s famous feline, with art exhibits, themed hotel rooms and more

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Written by
Youka Nagase
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Hello Kitty fans flock to Tokyo’s Sanrio Puroland to spend an entire day surrounded by Sanrio characters and to meet the cat herself for a photo-op. But that’s not the only place you can encounter the famous feline. Down in the south of Japan, there’s a hidden Hello Kitty resort where you can enjoy digital Hello Kitty artwork, catch lunch and a show, stay at a Hello Kitty-themed hotel and more.

Awaji Island in Hyogo prefecture sits in the Seto Inland Sea, just across the bay from Osaka. It’s just a two-hour trip from the city and is known for its beautiful beaches and temperate climate. The island home to Godzilla and Naruto theme parks, but it’s also got three separate spots dedicated to the world's favourite white feline. Hello Kitty Smile is home to a digital art exhibit and four themed restaurants, Hello Kitty Show Box is the place to meet Kitty in person, and the Grand Chariot Hotel has Hello Kitty themed rooms. Here are the best things to do at Awaji Island’s Hello Kitty resort.

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Aloha Kitty

Check out the digital artworks at Hello Kitty Smile
Photo: Sanrio

Check out the digital artworks at Hello Kitty Smile

First off, head to the northeast of the island, where you’ll spot a white building stretching 120 metres along the coast. The massive Hello Kitty head in the centre will confirm you’re in the right place. This cartoonish building is Hello Kitty Smile, a space dedicated to Sanrio’s favourite cat. 

The venue has an underwater Hello Kitty princess-themed digital art exhibit (¥2,300, middle school and high school students ¥1,500, children ¥800) with multiple interactive activities and a light show to marvel at. There’s an entire wall covered in Hello Kitty plushies, a 3D hologram of Hello Kitty, a kaleidoscope room and a rare peek inside Hello Kitty’s room.

There are also two shops where you can purchase exclusive merchandise, including rare designer handbags and phone cases decked with an illustration of Hello Kitty made from Swarovski crystals.

Get a luxurious Hello Kitty themed meal
Photo: Sanrio

Get a luxurious Hello Kitty themed meal

Hello Kitty Smile also has four different restaurants, each with their own themed specialities. The Garden Terrace serves a buffet of Asian foods with sweeping views over the Seto Inland Sea. In the mood for dim sum? Head to Ryugu Restaurant Tamatebako (pictured), which uses locally sourced ingredients from around Awaji Island. You can also try the seafood barbecue restaurant or sit down for a luxurious high tea at the onsite café. Wherever you choose to eat, most dishes are served in original Hello Kitty plates, glasses and bowls and some of the foos is even Hello-Kitty-shaped. 

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Catch Kitty on stage at the Hello Kitty Show Box
Photo: Sanrio

Catch Kitty on stage at the Hello Kitty Show Box

Just a nine-minute bus ride (or a 30-minute walk) from Hello Kitty Smile is the Hello Kitty Show Box. The building, shaped like Kitty’s head, is the perfect place to catch Hello Kitty in person. The main attraction here is the live musical performance – you can watch Hello Kitty sing and dance with her friends and enjoy a gourmet lunch at the same time. 

Meet Hello Kitty in person
Photo: Sanrio

Meet Hello Kitty in person

Even if you can’t make it in time for the stage show, you’ll want to head to the Hello Kitty Show Box in the afternoon. From 2pm, the venue turns into a café where you can eat adorable Hello Kitty desserts. Even better, if you purchase a greeting ticket (¥330), you’ll get to meet Hello Kitty up-close – she’ll come right to your table.

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Stay the night at the Grand Chariot Hotel
Photo: Sanrio

Stay the night at the Grand Chariot Hotel

To have the full Hello Kitty experience, spend a night at the island’s Grand Chariot Hotel, which has three Hello Kitty rooms, each decorated in a different theme. The biggest room is the Cocoon of Stars (pictured, above), which has colourful stars all over the room and fits up to four guests. The 70s room (pictured, below) is decked out with illustrations of Hello Kitty in her original iconic blue overalls, and the Natural Forest room has delicate, watercolour-like illustrations of Hello Kitty and animals. Both these rooms can accommodate up to two people.

Photo: Sanrio

Each room is in its own individual wooden cottage and every piece of furniture including the wallpaper, cushions, nightstand and curtains have Hello Kitty all over them. Plus, staying here gets you exclusive Hello Kitty merchandise and an entry ticket to Hello Kitty Smile. Prices start at ¥55,055 per person per night.

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