One of the cutest and most unique recent trends in Japan is the cat cafe, where one can enjoy a cup of coffee while playing with cats that roam the shop in search of kibble, doled out by customers for an additional fee. Because space is at a premium in Japan and many apartments don’t allow pets, and most Japanese are too busy to care for a pet full-time, these cafes went from being a novelty to being easy to find in a short period. Not everyone likes cats or dogs. Too pedestrian of animals for some, so how about meeting a ferret, owl, or even hedgehog? As usual, Japan has you covered.
Harajuku seems to have the majority of Tokyo’s animal cafe locations, veritable one-stop shopping to get up and personal with as many critters as possible in a few hours. With that in mind, you should start your journey at Harajuku Kawaii Zoo, located right on Takeshita Alley. From ferrets to fennec foxes, they have them all.
Being from the middle of the United States, I’m pretty familiar with how owls look and sound, thanks to the abundance of smaller birds, squirrels, and rabbits that also called my neighborhood home. I also am overly disturbed by their unwavering gaze that seems to burn a hole through your soul along with their simple cry: whooo. Then my son and nephew decided they wanted to check them out since we were in Harajuku one day knowing I’m every bit as curious as two 10-year-old boys. This cafe’s staff does a good job explaining how to be kind whilst handling the animals and lets them freely fly about in some cases. I had no idea owls could be kept as a pet, nor did I know you can see the back of an owl’s eyeball through it’s ear canal. Neat!
There’s an old saying: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This goes for animal cafes too, and for those of you who were wondering, “why are there no snake cafes?!” The Tokyo Snake Center has you covered. Their goal of “providing an unconventional environment” is fulfilled. You can sip on a cuppa while feeding serpents. Don’t miss the goods shop where you can find items made with the skin they’ve shredded as well.
“Hoot-Owl”, Jason L Gatewood
“climbing snake” via Tokyo Snake Centre