Hello Kitty Town Restaurant & Amusement
June 24, 2010
After several hours of web surfing to find out how to get to the well-concealed Hello Kitty Cafe, I came across an even more enticing link to a place somewhere in Korea called Hello Kitty Town Restaurant and Amusement.
As you can guess, with three daughters, this was a place I was particularly interested to find. I knew they’d love to visit.
After hours of Googling, I was unable to come up with any information about it in English. The only thing I hit on was the relatively useless website with nothing more than a single page and a thumbnail-sized map. Since I have to read Korean by picking out each letter, reading something tiny and run together is nearly impossible. Is this what non-English speakers encounter when they read tiny English print?
Using my handy Zoom gesture on my MacBook trackpad, I enlarged the tiny map to almost full-screen and deciphered the address. The restaurant was in Ilsan so I just had to find out where Ilsan was located. As it turns out, Ilsan is less than half an hour from Seoul to the Northwest. My map had a nice breakout of the Ilsan area and I plotted an easy route to get there. The closest station is Madu Station.
I also found out, using Wikimapia to view the area, that there was a large shopping mall called Western Dom somewhere near the Hello Kitty Restaurant. I knew if I could find this mall that I could circle around until I found the restaurant. I used Western Dom as my goal destination.
I had no trouble getting the kids to take moderately long ride in the car with the dangling carrot of finding Hello Kitty Town. I was a little nervous to venture out on my own, but I just went for it and hoped I wouldn’t spend too much time getting lost.
Of course, about 15 minutes into our drive we started hearing a loud alarm coming from outside. It seemed to be coming from everywhere and I couldn’t identify any emergency vehicle in sight. In minutes, all of the highway traffic came to a complete standstill and minutes passed. I was looking at the other drivers around me to see if anyone was reacting negatively to this strange siren. No one seemed to be the least bit bothered and there were no people running frantically from their cars or screaming. Smokers were smoking, drivers were talking on their phones, workmen were snacking on rice cakes, and young girls were singing along to music. The only thing that was running through my mind was, “Gee, I hope North Korea doesn’t have some dangerous projectile headed in our direction.” Finally, a quick call to Husband let me know that this was just a 15 minute drill and everything would return to normal once it was over. I was close to just turning around and going home after the drill. It freaked me out, to be honest. But, then I decided I would just go ahead with our plans and take things as they happen. It’s not easy to stretch outside your comfort zone, but the more I do it, the less panicked I get about it when I do.
All in all, the drive from that point forward, was easy and direct. My GPS sent me off the correct exit and headed toward Madu Station. Once in Ilsan, I was very impressed with this little suburb. It was active and very pedestrian friendly.
Just as the map says, I passed Emart on my right and then came to the Madu Yuk (Station).
At the first intersection past Madu Station, I took a left. On this corner is a Kim’s Club and New Core Outlet Mall on the right. A fancy store called LUCEEN is on the left corner next to this giant red building called Hyung Seong.
My daughter noticed these interesting faces in front of New Core Outlet Mall in Ilsan.
I took a photo of the signs at this intersection too.
Almost immediately after this left turn, we spotted the pink signs that ran alongside the upper level of this shopping mall. We also noted the big, blue “P” for Parking and we pulled right in with total ease. I was delighted to discover that Hello Kitty Town is actually a part of the Western Dom Shopping Center! Easy! Hello Kitty Town is in the Western Tower III. Parking was a breeze. We found a space right on the main level so there was no need to even go down into the parking basements.
Ok, now, finding the actual entrance to the restaurant was a bit tricky. I asked a few shop workers how to get there and not many were certain. The only real direction I got was towards the elevator and to the 3rd floor. The problem is that there is no entrance to the restaurant from the 3rd floor where I entered. We had to go to the 2nd floor, exit the elevator, walk down the to the end of the hall and enter a different glass door to an elevator that took us up to the restaurant. The elevator actually opens inside the restaurant. There were signs on the 2nd level that pointed the way.
Once inside, we were greeted by a hostess and directed to put our shoes in the lockers. No street shoes are worn inside the restaurant. Parents and kids went barefoot or used the pink or tan slippers provided. The cost for each child to enter and play is 7,000won. That included a free orange juice boxed drink. Any additional food you order is optional. Some of the moms who were there just ordered coffee beverages. Others had a full lunch. Portion sizes were pretty big so I would recommend that you have at least two people share each dish.
Food prices were moderate to high ranging from 12,000 to 35,000 Won. Most were between 13,000 and 16,000 Won. Thankfully, the menu was available in English.
Beer and wine are also served if one is so inclined.
We ordered the Twisted Mac & Cheese for 15,000W. It was more like cream pasta. It was very good and was large enough to share.
We got the Pork Cutlet Hello Kitty Set for 13,000W. The rice was pressed in the shape of Hello Kitty’s head and the salad had pink dressing. It was a great and delicious meal.
My kids’ favorite dish was the Crispy Chicken Tenderloin listed in the Appetizer and Side Dish section for 13,000W. I would have called that a full entree. It came with Honey Mustard and was plenty to share between two children. It was very tasty.
The last thing we ordered was the Chicken Quesadilla, also in the Appetizer section, for 16,000W. This was not something that went over well with the kids. The quesadilla was spicy hot and had pineapples inside along with the chicken and cheese — not a taste we’re accustomed to. I wouldn’t order this again.
After we ordered our food, it was play time while we waited. When we finally went room-to-room, I was amazed at how fun it was. This place was delightful! Everything inside was decorated with the Hello Kitty theme. Even the bathrooms had tiny Hello Kitty toilets for kids. Pink chairs, fancy menus and even private rooms for eating if you desire. In the private rooms, each has its own Sanrio theme. There were Sugarbunnies, Pompompurin, Charmy Kitty, Little Twin Stars and Shinkansen (Bullet Train.) In the Shinkansen room, one father was passed out asleep. So funny!
The play space was super fun. A giant ball pit in the middle of one dining room lets little ones play while parents eat. Tiny riding toys and stationary bouncers were available for babies and toddlers.
In a separate wing of the restaurant, the massive play area unfolds. In the climbing area kids can play on a zip line, a rolling slide, a soft merry-go-round, and a ball pit area.
There is also a working train which runs every half hour.
In the costume play zone girls can pick out a dress and wear it during their visit. Several people are on staff in the play area to assist and monitor children. A few of the girls enjoyed helping Kiki get dressed up in several outfits.
Inside Hello Kitty’s big pink house, kids can crawl through small spaces, play with kitchen toys and play house.
Inside Kitty’s Library, children can play board games, read books and watch educational videos. The ones playing while we were there were in English.
A television and camera system allow you to watch your child from your dining room or private room on viewing screens placed around the facility.
For parents looking for a fun place to hold a birthday party for kids in Korea, Kitty’s Party room is all set up and ready to go. They even have special party packages for the all-important Korean 1st Birthday.
There is also a nursing room for moms with babies and a place to let sleeping babies rest.
A computer station is even available for moms to use while kids play. We loved the Hello Kitty computer keyboard, mouse pad and mouse!
The Sanrio Gift Shop was small but had some cute things we didn’t want to leave behind. We bought some Japanese towels and Japanese plastic bowls. These were the actual kind for sale in Japan and I was happy to find them here. The Japanese kids’ towels are so adorable and are very sturdy. I haven’t seen them for sale in other stores here in Korea so it was exciting to find them at this little Sanrio shop. The plastic rice bowls are also something I’ve only seen in Japan until now. It made me miss Japan all over again.
With our purchase from the gift shop, the cashier gave us several of these little Hello Kitty booklets from each year of Hello Kitty art. This display was on the wall so we didn’t get every year, but they gave us about five little booklets.
So, what do you think? Would your kids enjoy a visit to Hello Kitty Town?
If you’d like to take a trip to Hello Kitty Town in Ilsan, Korea, here are the details:
Hello Kitty Town
410-838 Gyeonggi-do, Guyang-shi, ilsandong-gu, Janghang-dong, 868 peonji, Western Tower B dong, 3rd Floor
Hours – 11:00 AM to 10:00 pm
7,000 won per child to play
Additional purchase of food or beverage optional.
Average Meal price – 13,000 to 16,000 Won per meal
Directions by Train
Take the Orange Line, Line 3, to Madu Station.
Walk one block towards the New Core Outlet Intersection, past Kim’s Club store.
Go left one block and see the Hello Kitty Town Restaurant and Western Dom Mall on your right.
For more Hello Kitty fun, plan a trip to Japan’s Kyushu Island and visit Harmony Land, a Hello Kitty Amusement Park.
You can also take a trip to the Tokyo area and visit Sanrio Puroland, an indoor theme park for Hello Kitty and her friends. It’s really fun! At some point, I’ll get around to posting about that experience, too!