The Hello Kitty Cafe in Seoul
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!
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 )
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.