A Tour Of Tokyo’s Animal Cafes
There are a million different ways to do Tokyo. You could go on the shopping spree to end all shopping sprees; you could embark on a tour of the temples and shrines that are nestled in amongst the skyscrapers; you could stuff delicious things into your face until you require urgent medical attention.
When it comes to getting the most out of the city, there’s only one rule: Tokyo is a place that has to be explored.
In Tokyo, animal cafés are exactly what they sound like – cafes in which you eat and drink alongside various animals. Not only is an animal cafe tour a great way to see parts of the city that aren’t tourist infested, but you’ll also get to have some truly unique experiences, as well as be able to send photos back to the homeland that are guaranteed to entertain as much as they will confuse.
#1 Calico Cat Cafe
Start your tour off with a classic cat cafe, located right in the heart of Tokyo. With over 50 cats “on staff” representing the widest variety of breeds in Tokyo cat cafes (and, we’d wager, in the world), Calico is a great introduction to the general concept of eating alongside non-humans.
Try not to vibrate with excitement when browsing the roster of cats, and be sure to buy the cats some chicken snacks ($3 / ¥300). You’ll be the most popular customer in the store.
Where: Shinjuku-ku, Kabuki-cho 1-16-2 (6th floor)
Entry: $10.50 (¥1000) on weekdays, $12.50 (¥1200) on weekends and holidays (for one hour)
#2 Tori No Iru Cafe (Bird Cafe)
Who doesn’t want to eat a cheesecake while being eyeballed by a bird of prey? At Tori no Iru Cafe, you can.
There are enough owls and beady-eyed parrots to keep you company for the duration of your meal and, afterward, there’s the opportunity to get friendly with resident hawk Pii-chan.
Where: 1 Chome-22-3 Asakusa
#3 Sakuragaoka Cafe (Goat Cafe)
A rustic café buried in the ultra-cool Shibuya neighbourhood, you’ll spy the two resident goats (Sakura and Chocolat) chilling out in their pen as you walk in to Sakuragaoka Cafe. The menu is decent and, since it’s smack-bang in the centre of Tokyo, it’s a good spot for a mid-shop rest.
Seats adjacent to the goat action are typically popular, so you’ll have to hope the goat gods are smiling upon you when you visit.
Where: Shibuya-ku, Sakuragaoka-cho 23-3
#4 Yokohama Anettai Reptile Cafe
A 50-minute train ride from Tokyo to neighbouring Kanagawa Prefecture, the Yokohama Anettai (‘Subtropical’) Reptile Cafe delivers everything its name promises. Here, you can meet lizards, snakes, and turtles, and munch on a piece of cake while something called a “leopard gecko” sits on your lap.
If that doesn’t sound like one of the potentia highlights of your holiday, you need to recalibrate your fun-o-meter.
Where: Yokohama, Nakaku, Choujamachi 8-133 (2nd floor)
#5 Inu No Jikan (Dog Cafe)
Conspicuously absent from your tour of Tokyo animal cafes so far has been man’s best friend. Well, it’s time to remedy that, with the charmingly-named Inu no Jikan (“Dog Time”).
The catch is that this cafe is basically just someone’s house, and you’re required to book in advance – so you’ll likely need to conscript a Japanese-speaking friend to get in. Aside from that, Inu no Jikan looks like a delight. Evidence: this profile picture of the “staff”.
Where: Toshima-ku, Kitaotsuka 2-34-7
Entry: $15.60 (¥1500) for one hour
#6 Café Little ZOO
Here it is: the ultimate animal café. Billed as a store in which you can “meet owls and turtles”, Cafe Little ZOO also sneaks in a few lizards, snakes, frogs and eagles, too. All that plus a prawn pilaf? Well, alright then!
To get there, you’ll have to make the trip an hour out of Tokyo into Chiba Prefecture – but, chances are, you’re a seasoned pro at exploring Japan by now.
Where: Chiba-ken, Narashino-shi, Motookubo 1-4-10