Hello Kitty was originally marketed to young girls, but has gradually become popular for everyone for its cuteness since it was first launched in 1974. This white bobtail cat-inspired character was originally created by Yuko Shimizu for the Sanrio Company and is now managed by its new designer, Yuko Yamaguchi. With products ranging from toys, stickers, novelty items and fashion accessories, Hello Kitty items are loved by both kids and adults. Because of its popularity, there are now Hello Kitty themed parks which have become popular tourist destinations – such as Harmonyland in Oita Prefecture and Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo, located in Oita Prefecture. In different areas of Japan, parking lots have become a venue for themed Hello Kitty attractions since 2016.
A collaboration project between Mitsui Fudosan Realty Co., one of the biggest real estate companies and parking space operators in Japan, and Sanrio Company, Hello Kitty parking lot has been developed as part of their goal to contribute to society and the local community through parking lots. The company is working on several projects that have transformed parking lots to be not only meant for cars but also as a place to attract people and revitalize the city, using popular, colorful cartoon characters.
So, if you are traveling to Japan, try visiting these really adorable Hello Kitty parking lots!
Located in Asakusa district is the first Hello Kitty parking lot project by Mitsui Fudosan Realty Co. This car park opened on January 29th, 2016. It is near the entrance gate of the Buddhist temple, Sensoji. The park’s stoppers/locking device and rails are painted bright pink while the signboards and the car park ticket machine are painted with Japanese Lanterns and Hello Kitty wearing Kimono! The parking floor also has pink flowers and Hello Kitty’s ribbon design.
Address: 〒111-0034 Tōkyō-to, Taitō-ku, Kaminarimon, 1 Chome-9-5
While Tokyo’s Hello Kitty parking lot is colored bright pink, Nagoya’s Hello Kitty parking lot is a lighter shade of pink. Nagoya’s design shows Hello Kitty wearing two different colored ribbons and a cute floral dress with the city of Sakae in the background. Heart-shaped balloons, Sakae’s famous landmark buildings, tempura, and fried chicken wings or tebasaki have been printed/painted on the parking’s signboard. The parking lot was opened on February 22nd, 2016 and has attracted many tourists to the area.
Address: 〒460-0008 Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi, Naka-ku, Sakae, 3 Chome-32
Fukuoka’s Hello Kitty parking lot is more noticeable because of its design. The whole parking lot, including the floor, is painted with light blue, pink, and lavender colors. The floor is painted lavender, with pink lines and light turquoise stoppers, while the parking ticket payment machine is painted lavender. The signboard design shows Hello Kitty in a nice light blue dress and ribbon with Fukuoka’s famous landmarks and ramen. The parking lot was opened on March 28th, 2016.
Address: 〒810-0801 Fukuoka-ken, Fukuoka-shi, Hakata-ku, Nakasu, 5 Chome 1-7
— 新条 (@shinjoh) 2016年10月2日
Open since September 29th, 2016, this parking lot in Okayama is painted green and depicts the famous garden of Okayama with its castle in the background. Another signboard shows Hello Kitty gathering peaches (Momo) with a monkey, a dog and a pheasant, portraying the Okayama’s ‘Momotaro’ folktale. The parking lot has a vending machine and a bench where people can rest after shopping or walking in Okayama’s business center.
Address: 〒700-0822 Okayama-ken, Okayama-shi, Kita-ku, Omotechō, 1 Chome−11−28
Located in Aoba ward in Sendai City, another Hello Kitty parking lot has been charming tourists and passersby. This parking lot has the same color theme as Fukuoka’s Hello Kitty parking lot. However, its design is different. The parking signboard shows Hello Kitty and her twin Mimi enjoying Sendai’s Tanabata Festival, which is held from the 6-8th of August every year. This Festival is one of the most colorful events in Miyagi Prefecture. The Hello Kitty Parking lot was opened on December 20th, 2016.
Address: 〒980-0811 Miyagi-ken, Sendai-shi, Aoba-ku, Ichibanchō, 3 Chome-11-3
The latest Hello Kitty themed car park was opened on March 13th, 2017 near the Tsutenkaku Tower in Shinsekai district, Osaka. The car park is painted pink and blue from the ground to its railings. The design on the parking lots signboard shows Hello Kitty driving a car with the message ‘I love Osaka’. The signboards prominent design depicts Osaka’s unique food culture; Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, Kushi Katsu and other popular local cuisines are featured on Hello Kitty’s parking signboards.
Address: 〒556-0002 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Naniwa-ku, Ebisuhigashi, 2 Chome-7-6
Japan truly holds so many unique places worth visiting! Where else in the world would you find a parking lot that has become one of the country’s tourist attractions? If you love Hello Kitty or are even just curious about what these themed car parks look like, try visiting one of them!