Good things never come from deciding on trips whilst in the pub.  At some point during a night in a Tokyo bar it was decided that a visit to the Sanrio Puroland theme park would be the ideal way to spend a day.

Sanrio Puroland is located in the Tokyo suburb of New Tama, and - unusually - is all indoors.  As the name suggests the park is dedicated to the signature characters of Japanese character goods chain Sanrio, from Keroppi the frog to Cinnamon the, errr, furry thing.  But the star is no doubt Sanrio's mascot - Hello Kitty.

After purchasing our 'passport' ticket (approx. 22), we descended some stairs to the main hall of the park, and were surprised by what we saw.  Instead of going with a big pink Hello Kitty castle, which we were pretty much expecting, the whole thing was like a magical land of its own.  A gigantic model tree complete with treehouse and stairs graced the centre of the hall whilst various doors and stairs led to other rooms and exhibits.  The enclosed nature of the park really made it feel like another world, with wooden finishes given to much of the scenery to make it feel like an enchanted forest. 

There was a balcony level around the central hall which had seating for parents and a boat ride that weaved in and around the scenery.  Meanwhile at ground level entertainers dressed as fairies and Sanrio characters put on shows for children on a stage at the foot of the tree.  After getting over the surprise of all this we made our first mistake of the visit - we went on the boat ride.

Now, I'm not saying the boat ride was bad - in fact it was impressively long and featured all of Sanrio's characters, but seeing a series of brightly coloured giant animals with cutesy J-Pop blaring was not really what you want when you have a bit of a hangover. 

Still reeling from the sheer cuteness of this, we wandered aimlessly through some of the display rooms, taking in scenes of various Sanrio characters at work or at home before entering the first of the theatre attractions.

Getting to Sanrio Puroland is quite easy if you are in Tokyo (and if you don't go to the wrong Tama station like we did).  Take the JR line to Shinjuku station and from there transfer to the eastbound Keio Line train to Hashimoto (colour coded red), making sure you get off at Tama Centre station.  IMPORTANT:  Several types of train operate on this line, so ensure that you get on a Hashimoto one.  The destination will be written in English on the front of the train.  Trains with a green line on them are express trains and take around 30mins to get to Tama Centre.

For more info on getting to Sanrio Puroland, please refer to Sanrio's official website.

Not including the one that was closed when we visited, there were no less than four theatres to visit as well as a stage in the central hall.  Each theatre hosted a unique show, for example the central hall stage featured Sanrio's penguin Badtz-maru putting on a magic show for children, whilst the first theatre we entered featured a Hello Kitty musical.  Yes, you read that correctly.

The musical lasted for about 40 minutes and featured Kitty and her friends being transported to a fairy kingdom where they must work together to stop the land from losing its magical power.  The performance was surprisingly good, packed with songs and energetic dance routines featuring Hello Kitty characters in full costume, as well as a host of extras dressed in fairy outfits.  The well choreographed dance routines were made all the more impressive by the fact that half the cast were in cumbersome full body costumes, yet didn't put a foot wrong.