Yes, it’s true! The first international Hello Kitty Park (there’s one in Hello Kitty’s home country Japan) was just inaugurated November 28, 2014 and is set to officially open on January 1, 2015.
Construction began back in 2011 and thus far, the project has cost over $300 million US dollars to construct. The 150 acre theme park expects one million visitors each year. The park celebrated its completion last Friday with invited guests dancing, eating and signing the inauguration board with Hello Kitty characters. According to The Hettema Group website, the new Hello Kitty Park is meant to be the Sanrio characters’ very special home-away-from home.
The theme park is located in Anji, Zhejiang province, which is approximately a three hour drive west of Shanghai. Known for its rich forests and greenery, Anji is definitely an appropriate location for Hello Kitty’s “nature” theme park. The name was a selling point as well.
“Hello Kitty Park is the first in China. But why did we choose to build it here in Anji? Because Anji is a good name,” explains Frank Liu of New Insight of MGMT. “In Chinese it means both peaceful and auspicious.”
Nature’s five elements (wood, fire, water, metal, and earth) parallel with the five garden zones of the park for interactive activities. An area is also reserved for a world festival to feature important holidays such as Chinese New Year.
The park also has an official website (not yet in English) which maps the six different zones of the park. Each zone is home to a different Sanrio character. This includes the classic Hello Kitty (Hello Kitty’s Home), her friend My Melody (Melody Village), the adorably green Keroppi (Happy Harbor), tough guy Badtz-Maru (Steam Kingdom) and banana-lover Monkichi (Spirit Forest). The sixth zone will be a comprehensive Friendship Plaza for characters to play together.
The park will also have a luxury hotel, and yes — the rooms will be decorated in Hello Kitty theme.