Asia is becoming known for its unusual and zany cafes. Widely popular dog and cat cafes make visitors feel cozy and relaxed as they cuddle a furry friend and sip a warm drink. Time spent around animals has been shown to reduce stress and even anxiety and depression, and the photo ops for a cat next to your cappuccino or a puppy peering into your latte will always be Instagram-worthy. However, if you’re looking for a relaxing animal experience that involves animals a bit more exotic than the pets most visitors already have in their homes, the Osaka Owl Family café in Osaka, Japan, is a must-see.
Your beverage may be forgotten as you enjoy awe-inspiring owl time
The Osaka Owl Family Café has a standard beverage menu of tea, coffee and soft drinks. However, many guests will find their beverage of choice grows cold, forgotten on their table, as the drinks are not the focus of this café. Satiating thirst will probably not be on the forefront of most visitors’ minds when they are sharing the room with a dozen or more owls who are ready and waiting to be stroked, held and photographed!
The café is home to approximately two dozen owls at any given time, but those available for photos and handling are rotated to give these nocturnal creatures plenty of time to rest, so only a few owls of varying sizes will be on display during any visit. With the help of the staff, guests are allowed to take touch and take photos with the owls selected for interaction at that time.
Visitors are instructed on how to safely interact with the beautiful birds
A visit to the Osaka Owl Family Café is a bit more structured than your typical café stop. Visits occur in one-hour periods, with only about 15 guests allowed into the small café at a time. Each session begins on the hour, and can only be booked the day of your visit. For this reason, it is recommended to visit the café when it opens in the early afternoon, and either join the next visit if there is space, or reserve a spot for a visit later in the day, explore the neighborhood or have lunch, and come back at the designated time. It’s best to arrive 10-15 minutes before your selected time slot.
Once inside, drink orders are taken, and the group is consequently informed on how to handle and behave around the owls that are perched just across the room from the tables. Instruction lasts about ten minutes and is given in Japanese, with a laminated instruction card with the same information in English for foreign visitors. The staff and the card teach guests as to where and how to safely hold and touch the owls, and to be gentle and avoid flash photography.
Seize the opportunity to get creative photos with owls big and small
Owl Family Café owls are accustomed to humans, so visitors have the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with these majestic feathered creatures. Employees supervise visitor interaction with the owls to ensure that guests handle the birds safely. After the ten minute introduction, guests will have the remaining fifty minutes to take as many owl selfies as they can, or to simply enjoy the calming presence of these wide-eyed birds. Owls will happily sit on your arm or even on your head if you like; for this purpose the owls seem to be especially enthralled with blonde visitors!
Entry, which includes one beverage, is 1500 JPY (12.38 USD). In addition to the free photos guests will take away as souvenirs, the café also sells a wide variety of owl-themed gifts, including keychains, stationery and jewelry. The café is open Tuesday to Friday from noon to 8pm, and weekends from 11am to 8pm. The closest train stations are Temma or Osaka Temmangu.
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Spice up your cup of coffee with one-on-one owl time!
For dog or cat owners who want a little more excitement than dog and cat cafes, or for anyone who wants the rare chance to get up close and personal with beautiful, mysterious owls, the Osaka Owl Family Café should be at the top of your list. Animal cafes are part of the Japanese popular culture, and locals and foreigners alike are sure to enjoy this unique, stress-relieving, completely enthralling experience.
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