Tokyo has achieved worldwide fame for a spectacular variety of reasons, but among the latest sources of attention that has drawn tourists are its animal cafes. The original craze started with cats, and the market has slowly expanded to encompass a veritable menagerie - rabbits, birds, goats, reptiles, and even penguins. Japan’s animal cafes, in fact, fill a very important niche of Japanese society, as many people, especially in urban areas, live in cramped apartments with strict no-pets policies. The pet café allows them to connect with the domesticated animal kingdom for the price of a cup of coffee.
We’ve compiled our top spots around the capital, ranging from the prototypical cats down to snakes and owls. Due to their extreme popularity, we recommend you to make an appointment in advance for all animal cafes.
Kotori Café Omotesando
A most chirping, colourful affair greets you when you walk up to the entrance of Kotori Café in Omotosando. The entire front window, in fact, houses one of the four glass aviaries built within the café. Even from your seat within the cafe, you will be able to gaze at the play and chatter of the birds within proximity. There’s no entry charge, but you’ll be expected to order at least one drink, and your visit may be limited to an hour when it’s busy.
The Kotori Café first opened in 2014 and is situated in a cosy corner of Omotesando, where chic cafes, restaurants and brand shops throng the street. The staff, called the “kotori staff,” possesses technical knowledge about the birds and will help make the most out of a session with the birds. The birds themselves comprise a spectacular variety, both in breed and in character: everything from the slightly larger white cockatoo and red-rumped parrot, down to the smaller budgerigars and zebra finches and tiny technicoloured canaries. The rosy-faced lovebirds, which are said to mate for life, are particularly worth the spectacle for visiting couples!
Although for sanitary purposes the birds are kept behind glass cases for viewing, within the depths of the cafe there is a space for you to have small five-minute petting sessions with the birds. At a fee of 500 JPY (4.4 USD), here you can interact with different birds at a rotation of five minutes at a time. You can have the birds perch on your hand or shoulder. The time is between 11am-5pm and only up to three people are allowed to enter the room at a time out of consideration to the birds. Note: Flash photography is not allowed. You have to sanitise your hands before entering the room. Also, as the welfare of the birds are prioritised before anything else, some birds may not be allowed to be interacted with even when it is during the time.
In terms of a meal, we recommend the cake set, which is priced at 1500 JPY (13 USD). All cakes within the café are of high quality and use natural vegetable ingredients. There is even a bird designed cake, which is created by a popular patisserie. The cake is delivered to you in a birdcage à la bird-theme, with petite bird cookies and bird designs patterned on the cup and plates. We also recommend the Vanilla Macadamia coffee, mutually developed by the Hawaii Coffee Company and Colony 1555 Coffee Factory, out of the drink options. The delicious vanilla fragrance will have your mouth watering within seconds!
You can purchase the actual cups and plates used in the cafe from its little bird goods corner. Not only that, you can also purchase stationery, stuffed animals, kitchen utensils, books, postcards, and bird pellets.
Although animal cafes are more well known to be popular with females, “kotori males,” male customers secretly in love with the birds, are also regular visitors of the café.
Address: 6-3-7, Minamiaoyama, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Access: 7 minutes’ walk from Tokyo Metro Omotesando station
Price： from 800 JPY (7 USD)
Opening Hours: 11am - 7 pm
Contact: +81 3-6427-5115
Reptiles Café and Bar
Housed on the third floor of a Nakano multi-use building, the Reptiles Café and Bar is open at noon to 9 pm on Tuesdays, Fridays, and weekends. You can access it either through a 15-minute walk from JR Chuo-line Nakano station or an 8-minute walk from Seibu Shinjuku-line Araiyakushi-mae station.
The Reptiles Café and Bar is home to a slithering collection of reptiles, all very well trained and non-poisonous. Pay 1,000 JPY (8.90 USD) at the counter for entrance and one drink, and you will be granted the right to hang with the reptile of your choice. Just peer around from your counter seat and your gaze will be met with the sight of cages upon glass cases that house an extraordinary range of reptiles. With the central bearded lizard playing centre stage, there are over 15 varieties of reptiles, half of which belong to the lizard species, including the northern curly-tailed lizard and green iguana. Frogs and snakes are included.
Order your “full-time attendance service,” and you will have a reptile brought to your table. Visitors particularly love the central bearded lizard for its energetic crawling across your table. Although many cages also hold tiny baby lizards, these will grow to a full 40 cm length at maturation! One extra-special feature of the café is its tatami room, which is home to the green iguana by the name of Akai-san. Due to the extraordinary size of Akai-san, you are unable to have him brought over to your counter table, but can order a seat in the room. Although Akai-san is capable of maintaining a still pose to the point that you can even mistake him for a doll, bring him his meal, and snap! His movements are as swift as a viper’s.
As well as being a reptile café, the Reptiles Café and Bar places equal emphasis on its café and bar menu. Each course comes with a choice of one-drink or free-drink menu, the latter of which you have the option of choosing iced coffee, iced tea, cola, as well as green tea. At a special price, you can also purchase special options such as tapioca milk and crushed ice drink. Meals include a plate of pancakes modeled after the central bearded lizard.
Just as in a dog café, you can bring your own pet reptiles to the reptile café. They also provide accommodations for reptiles in need of care when their owners are away on a long holiday. As all of the staff are reptilian specialists, there is no need to worry that your reptile will be neglected during your absence!
Reptiles Café and Bar (Hachuruikukan)
Address: Second Fuji Building 3F, 5-10-1 Arai, Nakano Ward, Tokyo
Access: 3 minutes’ walk from Seibu Shinjuku line Arai Yakushi Mae station
Price 1980 JPY (18 USD) for one hour on weekdays
Opening Hours: Noon - 8 pm（Closed on Thursdays)
Contact: +81 3-5318-9357
As the world’s only hedgehog café, the Roppongi-based HARRY garners attention from all corners of the world. There are even tourists who specially travel from Europe to see the hedgehogs for goodness sake! Conveniently situated a single minute’s walk from the third exit of Roppongi station, the café can be found on the second floor of a multi-use building, which is also home to the third-floor rabbit café Ms. BUNNY.
The space inside the café is small, with three tables of four cozily accommodating small groups and couples beside each other. The fee is charged at half-hour intervals, with all-you-can-drink self-service of a variety of coffees and teas. No flash pictures are permitted.
There are approximately 20 four-toed hedgehogs, the majority of which are two to three-month-old babies. What fans especially adore about the hedgehogs is that even at maturity, the facial expressions of hedgehogs don’t change - the sleeping expression of hedgehogs, which forms into a queer half-smile almost like a pumpkin, is a most priceless sight to behold! Note: you may be tempted to even buy a hedgehog to take home with you!
Although hedgehogs are generally known to be wary, aloof animals, the hedgehogs at the café are well trained and are used to human handling from an early stage, making for a comfortable interaction between customer and animal. Moreover, hedgehogs actually send out all sorts of communication signals at all times. When they are happy, they cry out in pure joy and when they sense danger, they hiss and perk up their quills – they are in fact very expressive animals! Being nocturnal animals, they prove to be very sleepy during noontime, but become extremely active from evening on!
Address: Iwahori Building 2F, 6-7-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Access: 2 minutes’ walk from exit 3 of Tokyo Metro Roppongi station
Price 1,000 JPY (8.90 USD) for 30 minutes during weekdays, 1,300 JPY (12 USD) for 30 minutes on weekends. Reservation recommended.
Opening Hours: noon -9pm
Contact: +81 3-3404-8100
Cat Café Temari no Ouchi
Out of the ever-evolving community of cat cafes, Temari no Ouchi (which means Temari’s House) is a literal cat heaven for cat lovers. The café stands close by the north exit of JR Kichijoji station within the third floor of the Musashi Forum building. Opening hours are 10am to 9pm, with last order of meals or drinks at 8:30pm. What’s more, there is no time limit and extra fee to extended stays! The fee is 1,200 JPY (11 USD) on weekdays and 1,600 JPY (14 USD) on weekends and holidays, with extra cost of 700 JPY (6.20 USD) after 7pm. As per usual, no-flash pictures allowed.
The café transports the fairytale concept of cats building their own homes in the middle of a forest with their interior design. With tree stumps for chairs and walls covered in greenery, the interior of the café is designed to altogether evoke the image of a forest. The café also has floor heating, providing a warm, ideal and comfortable space for cat and customer alike!
The café accommodates up to 60 people at a time, with a choice of tatami-style and table-seat rooms. There are holes within the walls for cats to freely enter and exit the room, so that at any time you may have an unexpected furry visitor casually striding in during your meal. The café menu is composed of cakes and drinks that are made entirely from scratch! There are over 80 variety of coffees, offered at a special price of 400 JPY (3.50 USD) range. Definitely have a taste of the luscious scones, priced at 480 JPY (4.30 USD)!
While you are not allowed to hold the cats, you can pet and play with them at all times. Many cats at the café apparently dislike their bodies to be stroked, so make sure to pet them from the head up. You can also win the favour of these regal cats by purchasing kitty treats and handing them these meat strips. When you play with the cats using the toys provided, there are times that they may be unresponsive to your advances. During such cases, move the toy rapidly against the floor, and the cats will automatically prey upon the toyish victim.
Cats possess certain behavioural patterns during the day. Visit the café to suit your own personal preference of interaction: 1) Morning: cats at their liveliest. If you wish to play with cats, this is the most recommended time period; 2) Noon: Laid-back time period of the day. However, there are small events during which the cats compete for food. 3) Nighttime: You can watch the cats having their meals during 6pm to 6.30pm.
In the same Kichijoji area, there is a cat bus to the Ghibli museum. Stop over at the café for an amazing kitty-day trip around the Kichijoji area!
Temari no Ouchi
Address: 2-13-14, Kichijoji-honchou, Musashino City, Tokyo
Access: 4 minutes’ walk from Kichijoji station
Price: 1,200 JPY (11 USD) per entrance on weekdays, 1,600 JPY (14 USD) for weekends. Open for those above 10 years old.
Opening Hours: 10am - 9pm
Contact: +81 422-23-5503
That was a roundup of some of the most popular, rare and exciting animal cafes here within Tokyo! Don’t forget to place an early appointment and we hope to see you around some feathers, fur or quills during your travels!
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