Hello Kitty and Japanese tourism

By | Category: Travel news

an artist’s conception of one of the carriages. Image © West Japan Railway Company

You have heard about Japan’s bullet trains and – if you have had children in the last thirty years –  you will have probably come across the Hello Kitty franchise.

What I hadn’t appreciated is that the Hello Kitty business  (owned by Sanrio) is now the third highest-grossing franchise of all-time with an estimated revenue over $41 billion after Pokemon and Star Wars according to Pop Culture Media. In fact it is snapping at the heels of Star Wars and is worth far more than the James Bond and Harry Potter franchises.

Although Kitty is supposed to originate in London, it is in Japan that she is so dominant. At airports, the amount of Kitty merchandise is astonishing, the name apearing on everything from foodstuffs to watches.

Now local prefectures are using Kitty in conjunction with some bullet trains (properly called shinkansen) of the West Japan Railway Company to promote tourism.

From January until September, and in conjunction with the “Sanin Destination Campaign” Car 1 will feature original “Tottori Hello Kitty” and “Shimane Hello Kitty” designs and tourism destination information will be on display about the Tottori and Shimane prefectures. On some days people of the region and the “Sanin DC Ambassador” will come on board to provide information on Sanin travel and the “good things of Sanin.”

From October, the focus will be on the Yamaguchi Prefecture, where the “Bakumatsu Ishin Yamaguchi Destination Campaign and After Destination Campaign” will be held on board.

The routes even have their own website which give you an idea of how they have constructed the interior of the trains.

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