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The Hello Kitty Cafe in Seoul

May 30, 2010

May 30, 2010 — I got the scoop recently about a place called the Hello Kitty Cafe in the Hongdae area of Seoul (the nickname for the area around Hongik University). Upon hearing about it, I knew immediately that the Hello Kitty Cafe was going to be a big hit with my three daughters. We set out this weekend on a journey to find, indulge and conquer.

Hopefully this information will be useful to others who might want to delight their kids, or themselves, with this purr-fectly pink experience. For other readers, maybe this is just the motivation you needed to reserve the next flight to Seoul, Korea — or maybe not. Either way, I hope you enjoy the photos.

If you take a trip out there yourself, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about your experience.

At the counter you can choose from several desserts. Be sure to get a seat first and order second. They won’t take your order unless you have a seat available. Because the cafe is small, you may have to wait a few minutes for a seat, but with the light menu, seating was available quickly on the weekend, so I’m sure a weekday will be even easier. The menu has desserts, drinks and sandwiches, including hotdog, tuna sandwich, ham and cheese and chicken teriyaki sandwich.

Even the bathrooms are decked out in Hello Kitty style.

Even the toilet seat is a Hello Kitty bidet seat.

We ordered hot choco for the kids and a cafe latte for us. We split a chocolate mousse cake. Everything was very tasty. My daughter said the Hot Choco was the best she’d ever tasted. For the Cafe’s special May promotion, we received a free charm with our purchase. The staff at the counter hands out Hello Kitty beepers which buzz when your order is ready.

The entire building is pink. The chairs range in shades from hot to light pink and some are shaped like Kitty’s head. It’s not a very manly outing, even though there were several other Korean men in the store, but my husband was a real trooper. My girls loved every second. We did see birthday party hats on the counter so I’m assuming they would host a birthday party for a little girl here too.

Getting There By Car:

As we usually do, our family likes to drive and since I’m a little familiar with the area, I felt confident that we could drive to the cafe. We were regretting the decision to do this by the third time we had to drive around the block to figure out where to park the car. As it turns out, we found the perfect spot just one block before the mainly pedestrian-only road on which sits the HK Cafe. Parking was a mere 4,000W for the 2 hours we were there.

Coming from the direction of Yanghwa Bridge, drive towards Hongik University Station. When you reach the Hongik Univ. Station Intersection (before the actual station), take a right at this intersection.

On your right you will see Omuto Tomato, an omurice (omelet wrapped rice) restaurant, and Tom N Toms Coffee.

On the left, look for Bono Bono Sushi & Oriental Restaurant next to this glasses store:

Diagonally, across the road on your left you will see the Chunggiwa Gas Station which has an unforgettable, old Korean roof architecture. [Update 8/2010: Aw, bummer. Anna says, below, that the gas station is being torn down. What a shame. It was so interesting. Well, be aware of that when you’re looking for the landmark and watch out for some of the other spots I mention below.  That’s Seoul for you — things change faster than you can find them around here!  Thanks, Anna!]

After turning RIGHT at this intersection, continue three blocks and turn right. There are a few parking slots that run down the center of the road. You can see them in the photo below. Or, you can take the first road on the right (Mister Donut is on the corner – look for the Lion and the Lamb statue) and find a steel parking structure where you can park for a very small amount. It cost us 4000W for about 2 hours.

Look for the yellow buildings on your right (This is the street you want). There is a place called Beer Space on the opposite corner. This area is mainly for pedestrians. We saw cars only in the parking spots.

Keep walking until you see the large graffiti Cat painted on the side of a building. The Luxury Ho Bar is also on this corner. Turn left at this spot and you cannot miss the bright pink Hello Kitty Cafe up this hill.

You may see this dog resting on a shop step, too. Cah-yut!

Website:  www.hellokittycafe.co.kr

For an aerial view of the entire area, check this Wikimapia link. It has a highlighted box for the Hello Kitty Cafe.

Here’s another map to the Hello Kitty Cafe from Google Maps.

Pick up a copy of Seoul Magazine’s Maps & Guides supplement for an excellent map of the Hundae area.

Getting There By Taxi:

Give this address to the driver:  358-112, Mapo-gu Seogyo-dong (In Korean: 서울시 마포구 서교동 358-112 )

Telephone:  02.6326.6500

Getting There By Train:

Take the Green Line 2 to Hongik University Station. Use Exit 5 and walk towards the Hongik Univ. Station Intersection. You’ll see the Chunggiwa Gas Station with its unique Korean architectural roof on the opposite corner. You want to turn left at this main intersection. Walk three streets until you see a Tony Moly Skin Care and go right on that street. Then follow the directions above and look for the graffiti cat.

You can check out some other fan photos at Wingbus.

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11 Comments
  1. Kelli O'Loughlin permalink

    Jenny – Thanks for the detailed info. I’ve been hearing about this place, but haven’t gotten around to reseaching the directions to get there – your blog is ALWAYS soooo helpful

    • jenonymously permalink

      Hey Kelli, Thanks for your sweet comment. I’m really glad you like the blog and that the information helps you. Navigating Seoul is always tricky so I’m glad I can do my part to make things a bit simpler. Let me know how your trip out there goes.

  2. laton talbott permalink

    Hi Jenny,

    Can you give detail driving info from Youngsan base? We would be coming from Camp Casey and we figured we could just drive there since we know some of the train stops dont have elevator for our double stroller.

    Thank You,
    Ms.T

    • jenonymously permalink

      Hi Ms. T – Yup, don’t I know it! Strollers and train stations just don’t mesh. That’s what got me driving everywhere I want to go. It’s just easier! My car has a couple of bumps and scrapes to prove it, but I still prefer just driving myself.
      As for detailed driving directions, I don’t trust myself to be accurate with that one. I use my Navi to get me everywhere I need to go. I also invested in a great map of Seoul (You can buy one on the base in the PX.) All I can say is that it isn’t too difficult at all and if you take some time to study the map, I’m absolutely confident that you’ll find it. Just follow the photos above for info on how and where to park. Good luck!

  3. Anna permalink

    Jenny, Thanks for the info. for Hello Kitty! My daughter and I found it just as you said. ONE update though: The gas station you used as a reference is now being torn down…just thought you’d like to update your blog! A

    • jenonymously permalink

      Hi Anna. Thanks for this awesome input! It’s so great to have “eyes on the street” so to speak. What a shame about the gas station, too. It was such an interesting cultural icon. I’m super glad you let me know! Cheers.

  4. Sila permalink

    Do you remember what is the closing time for the cafe ?

    • Hi,
      So sorry for my late reply. We’ve been traveling this summer and I’ve been behind on my email. I don’t know what time the cafe closes, but I do know it is open in the evening. I would guess that it’s open until about 8:00pm.

      It’s a really fun place to visit. Hope you enjoy it.
      Jenny

  5. Thank-you Jenny!! I’ve heard of this place, but couldn’t seem to find the address online. My daughter’s 4th birthday theme was a Hello Kitty tea party….it turned out beautifully. She is 5 now and still loves Hello Kitty. I think I’ll surprise her some day with a trip to this cafe. I can’t wait to take her here now with your most helpful directions. We will probably take the train…driving in Seoul is stressful. :) thanks again.

    • Hi! You are so welcome!
      My daughter just turned 5 also! She is a really big Hello Kitty fan too. I know your daughter will absolutely love you for taking her on an outing to this cute little cafe. It’s definitely like having a fancy Hello Kitty tea party.

      Also, you might want to plan a trip out to the Hello Kitty Restaurant and play space in Ilsan. It’s a ton of Hello Kitty fun!

      All the best,
      Jenny

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