Source: Trends in Japan
Sometimes it seems that you can’t get away from Hello Kitty: everywhere you look, there’s yet another unique product. Now there’s another chance for fans of Sanrio’s feline character to satisfy their Kitty-chan hunger by riding a special express train in the Kansai region.
JR West has decked out the Haruka Direct Express that takes passengers from Kansai Airport to the tourism capital of Kyoto with a Hello Kitty interior and exterior. What a great way to arrive in Japan if you are just getting an international flight?!
The Hello Kitty Haruka service starts from January 29th, though there is just one express train involved and it runs on different schedules each day. All this means that it will feel super special and lucky to ride the Hello Kitty express.
The design features, of course, Hello Kitty very prominently, though mixes a contemporary kawaii style with a more traditional sense of chic. The floral and kimono motifs are every appropriate for a train taking people to the old capital of Kyoto, historically home to so much of Japan’s rich culture.
This is actually not the first Hello Kitty train in Japan. Previous examples include the Hello Kitty train running on the Keio and Shinjuku lines and the pink Hello Kitty Shinkansen bullet train in west Japan.
Source: deep kyoto
In his first Kyoto walk of the new year, Edward J. Taylor takes us from Kyoto Station to the Imperial Palace on the old route of Higashi-no-toin.
Outside circumstances dictated the day’s walk, in the form of a lunch meeting at Kyoto Station. Having thus decided on a walk that starts nearby, I pass to the north side of the lumbering building, one much unloved when it was unveiled in 1997. I used to feel that it would have been better placed in Tokyo, and that that city’s old station of Victorian brick seemed much more suitable to Kyoto. Now that I know a little more about Tokyo’s history, I recognize that its station is perfect right where it is, as its look honors the Meiji period history when the city took on a new identity, a new role, a new name. Though I’ve come around and now find Kyoto Station beautiful in its own way, I still find that the structure honors no history, except perhaps a Bubble–era boombox.
It serves as a sort of metaphor for why I’m doing these walks in the first place. A metaphor even more apt is that I begin with my back to the station’s Lost and Found office, for what am I doing but looking for the lost? And the street I’ll walk today, Higashi-no-toin, was in the Heian period perhaps one of the city’s most important, leading as it did to the estate of Fujiwara Michinaga, who was head of the powerful Fujiwara clan at a time when the family held its greatest control over the Imperial throne. This mansion, called Higashi-no-toin-tsuchi-mikado-dono, (whew!), was renovated in 1133 to become the current Imperial Palace.
As it is, there …continue reading