Japan’s animal cafes fill a very important niche, as many people, especially in urban areas, live in cramped apartments with strict no-pets policies. The pet cafe allows them to connect with the domesticated animal kingdom for the price of a cup of tea. Cat cafes got the ball rolling (after the first cat cafe landed in Osaka in 2004) and over the years that’s expanded to a menagerie that includes rabbits, birds, goats and even penguins. Here is a selection of pet cafes in Tokyo.
Usagi Cafe Ohisama
Usagi Cafe Ohisama is located in Shimokitazawa, one of Tokyo's most hopping areas for young people. For only ¥1,000, rabbit lovers can play with bunnies for 30 minutes, a nice break in between shopping in Shimokitazawa.
Ms. Bunny, located in Roppongi, not only allows people to cuddle with their rabbits but also take them for a walk to a nearby park. Baby bunnies and pet food are also on sale in the cafe, and sometimes even hedgehogs are available depending on the time of year.
This hawk cafe is more about looking rather than touching. People are only allowed to observe the owner training the hawks while they sit back and enjoy their tea. Falconers Cafe, located in Mitaka City, is a popular place for avian fans as they can take their own birds to the cafe and ask for training advice.
Tori no Iru Cafe
Tori no Iru Cafe, opening in late 2012 in eastern Tokyo, features 20 types of birds but mostly focuses on owls. With assistance from the staff, visitors can put on a pair of special handling gloves and let owls perch on their arms. The cafe is known for its eccentric bird-themed decor and special owl-designed menu.
Fukurokoji Cafe is a bright and chirpy place thanks to its collection of parrots and other tropical birds. Visitors can hold and feed the birds and even take home a special parrot calendar as a souvenir.
Yoyogi’s Kingyo Cafe is a good place to grab some pancakes and read a book. It also happens to be filled to the brim with a variety of goldfish. The cafe is also famous for being a film location in the popular 2013 Japanese TV drama “Saikou no Rikon.”
While pet cafes are a recent trend, Kingyozaka is not. An old shop that goes back 350 years, Kingyo Saka was established in the Edo Period and made significatn contributinos to Japanese goldfish culture. Besides purchasing tea, visitors can also buy the goldfish on display.
Yokohama Subtropical Cafe
The Yokohama Subtropical Cafe features a menagerie of reptiles from various sizes and species that are kept in tanks and cages, from meter-long lizards to huge land turtles. Visitors are able to pet the turtles and get close to tanks, but just make sure you wash your hands before you sip your tea.
Shibuya’s Sakuragaoka cafe bucks the classic fairytale by only having two billygoats. The cafe’s two stars, Chocolat and Sakura, are kept in a small wooden house next to the entrance. Besides petting and feeding them, visitors can also go on a walk with them or even rent out the cafe for a party.
Penguin Bar Ikebukuro
Looking for a place to chill in Ikebukuro? Try the Penguin Bar, where you can enjoy a meal and some drinks while watching its pair of rowdy penguins. There is even a special photo session with the penguins for those willing to pay some cold hard cash.