Tama Center Station has been around since 1974. You would think that such an old station would be run-down and outdated, but Tama Center is the exact opposite of that. This is probably partly due to the fact that Tama Center is also the home of Sanrio Puroland (the home of Hello Kitty). The station was just recently redone, and the inside is painted beige and navy blue with pictures of Hello Kitty and all her friends, like Batsumaru, adorning the station.
When you hop off of the Odakyu Line at Tama Center, you will see a large staircase to your left. Go up these stairs, and you will see that Tama Center Station is in a very convenient area. There is a mall directly outside of the station, another one about a five minute walk away, a Starbucks, and many more shops, restaurants, and arcades adjoining the walkway. This very walkway is the same one they use every year for the Tama Center Illumination.
Though Christmas is still a fairly new holiday to Japan, no one can say that the Japanese can’t do illuminations. Tama Center is no exception to this. Every year their lights are beautiful.
Along the pathway the trees are covered in bright yellow and white lights. In the middle of the pathway is a long blue light tunnel. I love blue lights (blue and purple are the two most beautiful light colors in my opinion), and Tama makes it even better! The tunnel is covered with lit-up undersea characters, the tunnel taking on a feeling of the ocean. When you walk underneath the tunnel you feel like you are underwater.
When you walk out of the tunnel you can see a giant Christmas tree, with a dazzling star on top. Many streets in Japan do illuminations, but most don’t have a Christmas tree. This little detail really brings the whole picture together, and makes it feel like Christmas (especially if you’re a homesick foreigner!)
After you walk out of the tunnel and go to the tree, if you turn to your left you can see the Sanrio Puroland all lit up, which looks beautiful also. There is even a giant, illuminated, Hello Kitty nearby!
If you are in need of some Christmas spirit, a romantic walk with your significant other, or if you love Hello Kitty, then this is definitely one of the top places to go to!
How To Get To Tama Center:
If you are coming from Tokyo take the Odakyu Line to Tama Center from Shinjuku Station. All trains stop at Tama (local, express, special express etc.), so you don’t have to worry about missing the stop.
Other Things to Do in Tama Center
If you want to spend the whole day in Tama Center these are some other places I recommend:
Sanrio Puroland: Mostly for children (unless you are a huge Sanrio fan), you can look inside Hello Kitty’s house, take pictures with Hello Kitty, see some shows, ride some kiddy-rides, and eat some Hello Kitty themed foods at the cafe. There is also a gift shop for when you are finished. To get here take the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station to Tama Center. Exit to the left, go up the stairs, walk down the pathway, and take the first left.
Tama Zoo: One of the top-rated zoos in Japan. They have a Lion Garden where you can get in a safari truck (which they attach meat to), and you can see the Lions up close. To get there take the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station. Get off at Tama Center, then transfer to the Tama Center Monorail. Take this to Tama Doubutsu Kouen Station.
Tama Center Park: A huge park in the middle of Tama Center, with a nice lake in the middle. Great place to have a picnic, or even walk around in to glimpse nature, or see Tama from higher up. If you walk behind the illuminated tree you will see a huge set of stairs. Walk up those stairs, or take the nearby elevator to the top to get into the park.
For more information → http://www.odakyu.jp/english/