A Tour Of Tokyo’s Animal Cafes
The 7 best spots to get totally wild.
There are a million different ways to do Tokyo. You could go on a 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.
So how’s this for an idea: a trip around Tokyo touring all the animal cafes. (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. Here’s our pick of the best.
#1 Calico Cat Cafe
Where: Shinjuku-ku, Kabuki-cho 1-16-2 (6th floor)
Entry: 1000 yen ($10.50AUD) weekdays, 1200 yen ($12.50AUD) weekends and holidays (for one hour)
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 so, we’d wager to say, in the world), Calico is a great introduction to the general concept of eating alongside non-humans. Try not to vibrate with excitement too intensely when browsing the roster of cats here. Be sure to buy the cats some chicken snacks (300 yen or $3AUD), and instantly make yourself the most popular customer in the store.
#2 Bunny Cafe Ohisama
Where: Setagaya-ku, Kitazawa 2-18-5 (2nd floor)
Entry: 1400 yen ($14.60AUD) for one hour and one drink
Located appropriately at the end of a warren of narrow lanes, if you can manage to find Ohisama you’re in for a rabbity, rabbity time. Enjoy a cool drink with a pair of bunnies on your lap (why not?), and keep them entertained by buying them a rabbit snack (200 yen/$2AUD). And best of all, if you fall especially in love with a particular bunny, you can buy it – getting back through customs is in your court, though.
#3 Tori no Iru Cafe (Bird Cafe)
Where: Koto-ku, Kiba 2-6-7
The big question: who doesn’t want to eat a cheesecake while being eyeballed by a bird of prey? Here, at Tori no Iru Cafe, the dream can finally come true. 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. There are even reasonably-clear hawk handling instructions in English for tourists.
#4 Sakuragaoka Cafe (Goat Cafe)
Where: Shibuya-ku, Sakuragaoka-cho 23-3
A rustic café buried in the ultra-cool Shibuya neighbourhood, as you walk in to Sakuragaoka Cafe you’ll spy the two resident goats (Sakura and Chocolat) chilling out in their pen. The menu is quite decent here, and since it’s smack bang in the centre of Tokyo, the cafe is 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.
#5 Yokohama Anettai Reptile Cafe
Where: Yokohama, Nakaku, Choujamachi 8-133 (2nd floor)
A 50-minute train ride from Tokyo into 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 potential top three highlights of your holiday, you need to recalibrate your fun-o-meter.
#6 Inu No Jikan (Dog Cafe)
Where: Toshima-ku, Kitaotsuka 2-34-7
Entry: 1500 yen ($15.60AUD) for one hour
Conspicuously absent from your tour of Tokyo animal cafes so far have 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.
#7 Café Little ZOO
Where: Chiba-ken, Narashino-shi, Motookubo 1-4-10
By now, you’re a trained animal cafe professional. You’ve played with fluffy things, been peered at by goats and hawks, and felt the slithery touch of the reptile kind. Well, 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 here, you’ll have to make the trip an hour out of Tokyo into Chiba Prefecture – but chances are by now you’re a seasoned pro at exploring Japan.