If you loved the Hello Kitty Shinkansen bullet train, then you will adore the new Toei Shinjuku Line trains. Operator Keio will deck out certain Shinjuku Line trains in a Hello Kitty theme, starting November 1st.
The ten-carriage trains, which will also run on the main Keio Line, are completely transformed on the outside by a pink design featuring Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters. Even the door stickers warning passengers not to rush onto the train have cute Hello Kitty and My Melody images. No information on when the trains will stop running has been announced.
The start of the service is significant as it marks both Hello Kitty’s birthday and the anniversary of Tama’s establishment as a municipality within Tokyo. The suburb of Tama is home to Sanrio Puroland, served by Keio trains running from Shinjuku to Tama Center Station.
Keio has a long relationship with Sanrio’s Hello Kitty franchise due to this Tama connection. Since July 2016, Hello Kitty has been the honorary stationmaster of Tama Center, which is these days elaborated decorated with Hello Kitty motifs, from the platforms and station lights to the clocks and benches.
This is actually not the first time that Hello Kitty has appeared on trains. Keio Line trains going to Tama Center previously featured Hello Kitty markings on the outside for a limited time in 2016. In addition to the recent bullet train, JR West also created yet another Hello Kitty train a few years ago for the Wakayama region.