In Tokyo you can have all the great food, scenery and hospitality you could possibly want…but what if you could have even more? There’s a unique genre of destinations that the city offers—animal cafes. With all the high-rise buildings and crowded traffic, it’s hard to have space for any other creatures aside from us humans pounding down the streets. But there are places tucked into the corners of Tokyo that allow you to share a cozy space with friendly animals. Get some nice downtime with a cat or two—or hedgehogs, or rabbits, or snakes.
The animal craze undeniably started with cats. The popularity of cat cafes has even expanded beyond the shores, taking the concept into other countries such as Taiwan and Singapore. In Tokyo they’re on their way to becoming ubiquitous, with dozens of establishments strewn all over the city. Cat cafes are known for their easy-going and slow-paced atmosphere, just like the felines that they shelter. When it comes to creatures as low-maintenance as they are, all you have to do is just relax amidst a room of purring cats and wind down together with them.
Where to visit: Cat Cafe MOCHA
Official website: http://catmocha.jp/
Another popular icon of animal cafes, rabbits have been hopping up the guide books. At many of these establishments you can pet bunnies or even cradle them in your lap as you enjoy a warm drink. They’re quiet and laidback compared to other animals, but still inquisitive and wonderfully warm to cuddle. They’re a real bundle of joy to have in your arms as you take a breather in a café! With so many breeds of rabbits in every café, you’re bound to find one that catches your heart.
Where to visit: Usabibi
Official website: http://usabibi.net/
The Shiba Inu, a breed native to Japan, is a popular domestic pet and in recent years also an unexpected star of the Internet. These friendly dogs are endearingly pure in nature, and beloved as a canine representative of Japan. Mame Shiba in particular are a subset of the breed where the dogs are smaller in size. The first Mame Shiba cafe was finally set up in Harajuku this year, so you can meet these dogs and enjoy a special time bonding with them in a cozy room.
Where to visit: Mame Shiba Cafe
Official website: http://owls-cats-forest.com/free/mameshiba-harajuku
Hedgehog cafes have been popping up in Tokyo, with countless visitors coming to see these small creatures. Don’t be deterred by the needles; they’re gentle and soft on the belly. At the same time though, staying at a hedgehog requires more delicate care. They tend to be shy creatures, and get surprised easily at human touch. But they’re uniquely adorable and worth the visit to watch them scuttle around and doze peacefully in their enclosures.
Where to visit: HARRY Hedgehog Cafe
Official website: http://www.harinezumi-cafe.com/
Birds might be a little small to cuddle, but they can certainly still come and perch on your arm. From budgerigars to cockatoos, you’ll be treated to a colorful scene of birds flying around their enclosures and peacefully pecking away at their food. They’re well-groomed and beautiful to look at it, and you can even get up close and personal with them at most places. For bird lovers, the bird café is a perfect place to admire these small and cute creatures.
Where to visit: Kotori Cafe
Official website: http://kotoricafe.jp/
While these are technically birds as well, owls themselves are popular enough that they deserve their own special category. Owl cafes are among the most frequented animal cafes, and have been steadily building up a curious following throughout the years. You certainly don’t see owls out in the streets, so it’s even more special to enter a mysterious space inhibited by this enigmatic birds. Elegant and powerful, their presence in the room is enough to take your breath away. Just don’t get spooked when they swivel their heads around to look at you!
Where to visit: Forest of Owl
Official website: http://2960.tokyo/
This might not be the first place you might think of when looking for a café to pet some animals—but it’s certainly a thrill. The first snake café opened in Harajuku back in 2015, and has amassed impressive demand for the slithery creatures. Lying comfortably in glass cages, the snakes will watch over you peacefully as you enjoy a drink. Or if you’re daring enough you can even take them out for a face-to-face meeting! How often do you get to keep a pet snake? Whether you’re a reptile fan or looking to overcome a fear of snakes for an hour, the snakes will be happy to attend to you.
Where to visit: Tokyo Snake Center
Official website: http://2960.tokyo/
For people who aren’t able to keep pets, animal cafes are the perfect solution to get your petting fix at a reasonable price. Or if you’re simply looking for a companion at your next trip to café, why not meet some animals? They’ll always be here to provide some healing cuteness and a unique experience, so be sure to check out these unique animal cafes.
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