Header image courtesy of Japan Travel
Animals are cute. Animals are both meditative and destressing. However, not everyone has the time, space, or luxury to take care of a pet full-time. Aside from the usual dog and cat cafés, Tokyo is home to an array of unorthodox animal cafés that house owls, falcons, hedgehogs, otters, and even a capybara! If you are an all-rounded animal lover, you should not miss out on the chance to visit these cafés and give yourself a memorable experience. Even if you are not that fond of animals, give it a try—you might end up falling in love with these fantastic beasts.
Did you know that owls can rotate their heads to a maximum of 270 degrees? Within a minute’s walk from Ikebukuro station, Ikefukurou Café is one of the most popular owl cafés in Tokyo with over 30 owls, including both Japanese and foreign species. During the one-hour session, you can touch the owls and have them placed on your arms, shoulders, and even head. While walk-ins are welcome, it is best to make a reservation first because the café has limited space and mostly standing room.
Ikefukurou Café, 6/F, 1-17-1 Minamiikebukuro Sakimoto Building, Toshima, Tokyo, Japan | (+81) 03 5904 8344
Otters usually live in an aquarium, but here you'll have the chance to get up close and personal with this spontaneous creature in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo! Otters are known to be energetic and friendly with a great sense of humour. If you are looking for some good laughs, Harry Harajuku Terrace is definitely the place to be. The venue also features hedgehogs and chinchillas and has staff present at all times to teach you how to safely and respectfully handle these amazingly cute animals.
Harry Harajuku Terrace, 3/F, Zinguumae426 Building, 4-26-5, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan | (+81) 03 3404 1212
Run by a husband and wife duo who are both trained falconers, Falconer’s Café showcases five types of falcons, including the northern goshawk, ferruginous hawk, members of the Falconidae family, golden eagle, and Harris’s hawk, along with a Brahma chicken, an English Pointer, and a bunch of Japanese quails. Please note that the café only welcomes guests aged 20 or above as smoking is allowed inside and it will be closed during hunting seasons, so remember to check the calendar before heading to the shop.
Falconer’s Café, 5-1-8 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan | (+81) 04 2257 7762
If you like the family movie Babe, you are going to fall instantly in love with these smart and adorable micro pigs! Taking up four storeys, Mipig Café Meguro is the first micro pig café in Japan. It offers a cosy environment where you can just relax and watch these cute piggies run around. Please note that the café has strict rules about not touching the piglets—all you can do is wait for them to come to you for a cuddle. Finally, if you are showing signs of a cold, you won’t be allowed to enter because pigs can actually catch viruses from humans.
Mipig Café Meguro, 4-11-3, Meguro, Meguro, Tokyo, Japan | (+81) 03 6712 2011
What is a capybara? It is the largest living rodent in the world and a native of South America. As its name suggests, Capyneko Café is not only home to Tawashi the capybara, but also several long-term feline residents and eight to nine rescue cats that are open for adoption. For those who are not familiar with capybara, it is a gentle giant that loves to be petted and cuddle with other furry creatures. Remember to make a reservation in advance and be aware that guests without socks or wearing strong perfume will not be allowed to enter. You can enjoy a cup of coffee and spend precious time with Tawashi and his feline friends at ¥2,200 an hour and get an extra 30 minutes for an additional ¥1,100.
Capyneko Café, 2/F, Platano Building, 1-5-10 Kichijoji Minamicho, Musashino, Tokyo, Japan | (+81) 04 2226 9388