You probably know that Japan is obsessed with cats. Cat merchandise, cat pictures, stray cats, commercials with cats, movies about cats, books about cats….and of course, cat cafes, where you can spend some time playing with the furry things before having a meal and then paying for your time.
But if you don’t like cats, or if you’re just tired of how–well–catty the cats at these cafes can be, you can try visiting another cafe with animals just as cute.
You can call them “rabbit cafes,” but “bunny cafe” is much cuter. Bunny cafes work just like cat cafes: you pay a certain amount of money per hour or half-hour to spend time petting and playing with bunnies. And there are tons of them! You can feed them (though you might have to pay extra, depending on the place), fluff them, pick them up and put them in your lap, take pictures of/with them and just feel at ease with a bunch of bunnies.
Just like in cat cafes, you can also get light meals, drinks and desserts at bunny cafes. They are, of course, bunny-themed. Which is nice if you’re trying to take a break from all the cat-themed stuff.
There are a few cat cafes in Tokyo and around Japan, but they’re not super common. If you’re in a big city, you’ll probably find one. If not, you’ll have to travel if you really don’t want to settle for cats.
But say you don’t like bunnies. Too fluffy? Allergic? One bit you and you never want to look one in the eyes ever again?
If your lifelong dream has been to hold or pet an owl, then look no further. Owl cafes exist just for that.
The most famous owl cafe in Tokyo, Fukurou no Mise (Owl Store), does not allow for advance reservations: you have to go the day of and see which slots are open. But once you get in, if you follow the rules correctly, you’ll be able to hold, pet and have the owls climb all over you to your heart’s content. There are tiny owls you thought only existed on the Internet, and giant owls you’ve seen on TV. Now all close up and personal!
And of course, owl-themed cafe menu items.
Are you not a fluffy animal person? Do you prefer the cold-blooded, scaly ones? Well, there’s something for you too.
I would venture to say that the general rule of thumb here is, if you don’t like snakes, you probably shouldn’t go to a snake cafe. They just climb all over you. (No, they are not poisonous.) However, a certain snake cafe in Narashino, Chiba, called Cafe Little Zoo, also has owls, eagles, turtles and even a salamander.
You would think that someone, somewhere, would look at all the hype of cat cafes and think, “What about for the dog lovers?”
I am still looking for that someone.
Dog cafes exist in Japan, but not in the way you expect them to. Instead, they’re cafes where you can take the dog you already own and eat together. The dog has a menu and you have a menu. It’s a place for owners and their pets. Not all hope is lost: you can still rent a dog there for an hour or two and feed it, pet it or take it on a walk! The main focus of the cafe, though, is to give a space for pet owners to hang out with their dogs on a weekend or break.