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Five Fun Sanrio Spots to Check Out While in Tokyo

When in Tokyo, don't miss these cafes and shops for a dose of sweetness from Sanrio, the creator of Hello Kitty, Gudetama, and many other adorable characters.



Sanrio Cafe Ikebukuro (left) and Sanrio Gift Gate Asakusa Store. (© JAPAN Forward)

Traveling around Japan just got more fun with Sanrio. Visitors to Japan exceeded three million people in March 2024, a record high. Many are likely looking for new ways to enjoy the sights, flavors, and unique characters that distinguish Tokyo.

Sanrio, the creative force behind Hello Kitty and other beloved characters, has some really fun options worth your time as you explore the area.

JAPAN Forward put together a list of Sanrio shops, cafes, and even an augmented reality (AR) attraction that adds a dose of cuteness as you visit the neighborhoods around Shibuya, Asakusa, Ueno, Ikebukuro, and Kamakura. If you are traveling in and around Tokyo, why not stop by for a smile? 

1. Shop at Sanrio Gift Gate Asakusa Store

This shop is just a couple minutes' walk from the iconic Kaminarimon Gate, the entrance to Tokyo's oldest temple, Senso-ji

Thanks to the approximately seven-meter-tall Hello Kitty hugging the entrance, it's also impossible to miss. Upon entering the ground floor, visitors are met with a charming interior resembling a forest of apples.

Among the sought-after items are plush toys featuring Sanrio characters, with Hello Kitty being the most popular. Additionally, Hello Kitty-themed water bottles are in high demand.

On the second floor, the ambiance shifts to reflect Japanese culture. This is one of the shop's main attractions. Character-themed paper lanterns hang from the ceiling, creating a delightful atmosphere. A designated photo spot offers the perfect opportunity for visitors to capture memories. Shop manager Mika Koike notes the popularity of pens featuring Hello Kitty donning a kimono against the backdrop of Mount Fuji.

The Sanrio Gift Gate Asakusa Store's second floor features a Japanese-inspired section. (© JAPAN Forward)

Products reflecting Japanese seasonality are also available. For example, stationery with Sanrio characters and wisteria floral patterns in time for June, and carp motifs for Children's Day in May. 

"Customers often take pictures at the photo spot and share them on social media. This, in turn, attracts others to visit our store, which makes us very happy," says the manager. 

Getting There

  • A three-minute walk from Asakusa Station Exit 3
  • Address: 1-17-5 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Shop employee Sana Onuki in front of Sanrio Gift Gate Ueno Store. (© JAPAN Forward)

2. Panda Goods at Sanrio Gift Gate Ueno Store

A visit to Tokyo wouldn't be complete without a stop at Ueno Park for its museums and famous zoo. 

This Sanrio store is decorated with Pompompurin and Hello Kitty dressed as an adorable panda, one of Ueno's beloved symbols.

Upon entering, visitors are greeted with seasonal and panda-themed adornments put up by the staff. At the time of our visit, the shop featured cherry blossom decorations. 

Megumi Abe, the supervisor of Sanrio Gift Gate Ueno Store, shows us exclusive products available only at the Ueno store. Most notable are plush toys of Sanrio characters dressed as pandas. Nori-flavored chips are also popular. 


There's a section with cardholders where fans can insert photos of their favorite anime characters, idols, or actors. According to shop employee Sana Onuki, the bags and purses are highly sought after for their fashion appeal. Nevertheless, demand for stationery remains very high. As at the Asakusa store, "Pens are incredibly popular, with some customers buying them in bulk," she explains.

At the Sanrio Gift Gate Ueno Store, there are card holders for fans of idol culture. (© JAPAN Forward)
Popular goods at the Sanrio Gift Gate Ueno Store include character-themed bags. (© JAPAN Forward)

To enhance the visitors' experience, the Ueno store also features a popcorn machine and capsule toy dispenser.

"Sanrio releases new products every week, ensuring there's always something fresh for everyone to enjoy. We'd be delighted if you decide to stop by," says Onuki cheerfully.

The Sanrio Gift Gate Ueno Store features a popcorn machine with Hello Kitty inside. (© JAPAN Forward)

Getting There

  • A five-minute walk from Ueno Station Shinobazu Exit
  • Address: PLAZA-U 1st Floor, 4-8-6 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo

3. Experience Shibuya with Hello Kitty AR

Close to Shibuya's famed Scramble Crossing is the shopping center, Shibuya 109. It is hailed as a shopping heaven for young people and an urban symbol of the bustling neighborhood.

To celebrate Hello Kitty's 50th anniversary, Sanrio has introduced a special app. It allows fans to experience the beloved character through augmented reality (AR) in key cities worldwide, including London, Paris, Taipei, New York, and notably Tokyo. In Tokyo, the AR activation point is none other than toward Shibuya 109.

The HELLO KITTY AR app is available on both Google Play and App Store. Once downloaded, users can simply point their phone camera toward the 109 building, and a dancing Hello Kitty will appear in their viewfinder.

Sanrio fans can enjoy filming Shibuya with Hello Kitty, or even posing with her in the famous location until December 31, 2024.

Getting There

  • A three-minute walk from Shibuya Station Hachiko Exit
  • Address: 2-29-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo
Reporter Arielle Busetto posing in front of the Sanrio Cafe in Ikebukuro. (© JAPAN Forward)

4. Visit Sanrio Cafe Ikebukuro in Tokyo's Subculture Wonderland

For a taste of Japanese subculture in Tokyo, visiting Ikebukuro is a must. Otome Road stands as a mecca for anime, manga, and idol culture. Renowned shopping complex Sunshine City offers an array of attractions including an aquarium, observatory, planetarium, and even a history museum.

The first Sanrio Cafe, which opened in June 2020, is located just off the escalator going underground from Sunshine 60 Street to Sunshine City. From decor to menu, it promises a full experience of the world of Sanrio characters. The menu is available in Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese.

Barbeque sauce hamburger with mango smoothie at the Sanrio Cafe in Ikebukuro. (© JAPAN Forward)

"We take great care in creating menus that truly reflect our cute characters, including adjusting the position of each element by millimeters," says Yuichi Hagiwara, supervisor of Sanrio Cafe Ikebukuro and Sanrio Cafe Kamakura. Creating character-themed sweets requires both imagination and precision. 

Happily, the food is as delightful as it is delicious, with an impressive menu for everyone's taste. Hagiwara explains that the menu is developed with a focus on flavor, including tasty hamburgers that are 100% beef.

Tea-cup lamps give the cafe in Ikebukuro an elegant atmosphere. (© JAPAN Forward)

Customers can revel in fluffy pancakes, fruity smoothies, and the popular cream sodas. (For the uninitiated, the latter is a fizzy soft drink with ice cream on top.) At the cafe, these colorful soft drink sodas are topped with ice cream shaped like Sanrio characters.

A special collaboration menu features Hello Kitty pork buns by Sannomiya Ikkanrou, a Chinese restaurant established in Kobe in 1954. Another favorite among customers is the fluffy rice-flour Hello Kitty pancakes made in collaboration with Pedra Branca

Managers are also keeping the prices moderate for their customers. Both the burger and pancakes cost ¥1,300 JPY ($8.40 USD). 

Having a meal at the Ikebukuro cafe is just another way to encounter Sanrio characters. How about a Gudetama ice cream? (© JAPAN Forward)

"What makes me really happy is the reaction of customers when they see the food and exclaim, 'This is so cute!'" Hagiwara shares. "We'd love it if people come here and enjoy delicious food while immersing themselves in this Sanrio world," he concludes. 

Getting There

  • An eight-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station Exit 35 or a three-minute walk from Higashi Ikebukuro Station Exit 6/7 via underground walkway
  • Address: Sunshine City B1, 1-28-1 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima
Sanrio Cafe in Kamakura. (© JAPAN Forward)

5. Take a Break from the City at Sanrio Cafe Kamakura

Anime lovers might know Kamakura as the location of the railway crossing scene in the Slam Dunk manga franchise. It's also home to historical sights such as Kotoku-in and Hasedera temples and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

A couple of minutes from the shrine visitors can find another Sanrio Cafe. It's the perfect place if you want to take a break from tourism. Sanrio Cafe Kamakura is situated within a historical setting. A space shared with a hotel near the back of the cafe showcases the remains of the Hojo family residence along with excavated items.

Sanrio's Yuichi Hagiwara during an interview in the shared space displaying historical exhibits. (© JAPAN Forward)

On top of latte art drinks, pancakes, and burgers — also found at the Ikebukuro branch — this cafe brings Japanese sweets into the mix. 

Warabimochi desert (above) and Kamakura-limited edition crepe are just some of the dishes available at the Kamakura cafe. (© JAPAN Forward)

Guests can indulge in traditional Japanese desserts like warabimochi and anmitsu adorned with Sanrio characters. 

Warabimochi, a classic Japanese dessert, boasts a texture like mochi but is even softer. They are often translucent or transparent. The ones at Sanrio Cafe Kamakura resemble beautiful dewdrops and are served with sweet soybean flour and syrup.

The dish is complemented by three original wasanbon sweets crafted from fine Japanese sugar. Each sweet comes in soft hues and is shaped like hydrangeas and pigeons, motifs that symbolize Kamakura.

For those with a penchant for Western treats, the cafe serves waffles and limited edition Kamakura-inspired crepes.

QQ Chan from Hong Kong, who was visiting the cafe with her husband, says she particularly enjoyed the burger and latte art. "Everything was really tasty, and it's nice that characters feature in all products." 

When asked about her visit, she shared, "I've loved Hello Kitty since I was young." She added happily, "We looked up places to eat, and when this came up, I knew I wanted to come here." 

Cinnamoroll sleeps under a waffle blanket while My Melody looks on from reporter Arielle's latte. (© JAPAN Forward)

Cafe supervisor Hagiwara says, "The cafe offers an English menu and original souvenirs which you can only buy here. We hope these souvenirs will serve as mementos of your visit to Kamakura."

One recommendation is the kawara senbei, crackers resembling traditional Japanese roof tiles. They come in a limited-edition tin box featuring Hello Kitty alongside Kamakura's hydrangeas.

Looking ahead, Hagiwara reveals Sanrio's plans for new seasonal delights. In the summer, the cafe will be serving refreshing kakigori (shaved ice desserts) as a delicious way to beat the heat.


Getting There

  • A ten-minute walk from Kamakura Station East Exit
  • Address: 1-8-36 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa

This article is published in cooperation with Sanrio Company Ltd.


Author: Arielle Busetto