Fans of Hello Kitty can rejoice that there is a Museum dedicated to the adorable Kitty White in Jeju, South Korea right outside of Seoul. Hello Kitty Island Museum & Cafe claims to be “The Happiest Day Trip in the World”, and for some that may just be true. Ever since 1974, this cartoon cat has been affectionately capturing the hearts of fans all around the globe, and it has become almost a phenomena or even a Cult of Personality per-say.
For about $10 USD you can gain all-day admission to this Museum, which is partly an art gallery as well as an interactive museum. Although most of the interactive exhibits skew heavily towards engaging younger kids, we are sure that most adult Hello Kitty fans are still young enough at heart to be enthralled with the experience. There are a total of 3 floors of things to do, if you count the outdoor exhibits on the roof, and they range from the Hello Kitty History hall, Hello Kitty House, Art Education Hall, Music Education Hall, Art Galleries, Constellation Education Hall, a Cafe and an outdoor Maze and Activity Center.
We found the Hello Kitty History hall to be quite fascinating, as we got a deeper look into the thoughtfulness and creativity that went into the Hello Kitty characters. You can also see how relatively unchanged she has been over her 44 years, though there have been many new friends introduced into the lineup from time to time. Some of Hello Kitty’s best friends are a frog and a penguin, who knew!
The Hello Kitty House was a bit overwhelming, though we can see where this might look like paradise for an avid Hello Kitty collector. Pink and White are definitely the dominant themes, and it was impressive, to say the least at the breadth of merchandise offerings that the brand has produced over the years. There are sets of fine china, traditional Sake sets, cookware, furniture, and even electronics. You literally could decorate your whole house in Hello Kitty if the price was no objection, and this is a shining example of just how it could look.
The cost of admission is well worth the experience for what you get, though the price on some of the food and merchandise can feel a little spendy once you get inside. Most of the food in the cafe was around $10 USD for a dessert and slightly more for a plate of food. Since cartoon cats tend to crave junk food and sweets (though I think Garfield liked Pizza and Pasta), most of the food in the cafe is ice cream and desserts. There was a plate of three hotdogs though, so somebody was thinking of my kind of lunch when they put the menu together.
On your way out you will make your way through the Hello Kitty Island Gift Shop, where you will find hundreds of Hello Kitty merchandise items. Some of the items are even exclusive to the exhibit, so if you really want a keepsake you are going to have to buy them here! We figure why come all this way and not plan to throw down some extra change on a little merchandise.