Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tokyo's Pet Cafes

Tokyo is a BIG city. A big, crazy city with A LOT of people, many of whom live in teeny tiny flats that don't allow pets. Ergo the boom of the "pet cafe" where you can go to drink a cup of tea in the company of cats, rabbits, goats and even owls. It's kooky and it's totally Japan. I love them!

One thing that struck me about Tokyo, that I wasn't expecting, is the noise. It's SO LOUD! There is noise coming at you from every direction and the visit to this peaceful cat cafe in Shibuya was  a really welcome respite from the bedlam that was raging just outside the window. This place was so quiet it felt more like a church than a a good way. Cats are Gods to us crazy cat ladies after all.

The first cat cafe we visit (yes there was more than one) was Hapineko. After a day of wandering around I just wanted to sit, drink some tea and pat some cats. It took us a while to find this place (thanks eventually to Google Maps) but when we did I was in HEAVEN! SO. MANY. CATS!

Our visit to Hapineko cost about $15 for an hour. That includes patting of all the cats can you find plus a hot (or cold) drink and a little snack. A friend of mine worried that the cafe would be kinda dirty and we'd be drinking and snacking amongst dirty little, stinky cats (clearly, she's NOT a cat person) but I can assure you this place was CLEAN! Like a whole new level of clean I've not encountered before. Mr Sheen would feel like a dirty old man here.

Miraculously we left after an hour rolling around on the floor patting cats with not a skerrick of cat hair on us. Not one bit of fluff. There was no "catty" smell at all -- all of the cats went off to a "secret room" to do their business ...I think a lot of them actually snuck in there just to get away from the humans.

Truth be told, most of the cats were asleep - but that makes it all the more easy to pat them. A few were awake and were running around...but mostly it was Zzzzzzzzzzzz for these fur babies.

The second cat cafe we visit is tucked away in Harajuku - it took as over an hour to find this building and we only ended up here as the Bunny Cafe across the corridor was full and there was a 90 minute wait to get in. WHAT!?

I think this place is called Chuumonnnoooi - but it's Japan so in reality I have no idea what this place is called....let's call it "the place across the hallway from the Bunny Cafe that is really hard to find".

We had a massive Lost in Translation moment at this cafe and ended up having to pay more than we thought for our 30 minute visit, plus there were no drinks/snacks (I think this was extra...but really, who knows)?  Anyway, we're here to pat cats and not eat/drink.  All up we paid about $7.50 for a half an hour (each).

This cafe was much smaller than Hapineko which we'd visited the day before. There were also less people (a maximum of 5 at a time) AND all but two of the cats were awake. FUN TIMES! My only gripe with this place is that I wished the cats had more toys/enrichment materials to play with. They seemed a tad bored (but well groomed and well fed and the room was {again} very clean).

Unlike the other cafe we were give a little bag of cat treats to feed to the cats. It's funny how EVERY cat in the room suddenly became our BFF  - literally pawing at us for more food. 

I particulary loved this cat...he LOVED having his feet touched, which is pretty much a no-no in the cat world.  I spent 10 minutes playing with his toe-beans and walked away completely unscathed. 

The next day we return to Harajuku after making a booking at RA.A.G.F Rabbit Cafe. The place is packed when we get there, proving the theory that, in Japan, Rabbit trumps Cat.

There are about 16 rabbits at this place, but only one rabbit is "on the floor" at any one time. I'm guessing this is to stop them humping each other in front of the guests?

This place isn't as clean as the cat cafes and I'm figuring it is harder to train so many rabbits living all in one place - espeically when the don't get non-stop attention from one person. A friend of mine has about 5 rabbits at her house and they are all house-trained so it can be done...probably just not when there are SO many rabbits and people coming in and out.

When we arrive the star of the cafe is out and about terrorizing people for snacks. This bunny is HUGE, like a small dog -- maybe he'd just eaten a small dog which may account for his size.

For our $6.00 we're each given a drink and a cup of snacks for the bunnies. Monster bunny does laps of the room knocking over peoples drinks in his never-ending search for food. If you want to hear a bunch of Japanese girls scream like...girls...then this is the place to be my friends.

All in all we had a lot of fun at the Bunny Cafe. I did feel a bit sorry for the bunnies in the cages as I'm guessing they spend a lot of time in there. But it's not a bad life if you consider how a lot of other animlas are being treated in the fur and meat industries.

We did consider going to the Owl Cafe but when I thought about I decided it wasn't a good idea. Owls really aren't animals that should be domesticated as pets - they are wild birds, and I'm sure the experience of owl meets human isn't a natural one, and not one I want to support.


  1. Bel | Ooh, Look...March 13, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Mel, this is the best post Ever! And the cat in the stripey vest is 'best cat in post'.

  2. Yay, how exciting! As a definite cat lover, I would LOVE to visit a cat cafe!

  3. Tina@foodboozeshoesMarch 13, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    Cat in bowl - SQUEEE! Those look like some massive bunnies too... It looks like a great idea for people who can't have their own pets.

  4. Eeee! This is such a cute post! I can't wait to go to a cat cafe in Tokyo!!

  5. naww those cats are so cute! I'm definitely gonna try and visit one of these when I'm in Japan next month

  6. Oh so cute! I would love to visit a cat cafe. I am a crazy cat lady all the way!

  7. As I read this statement "Tokyo is a BIG city. A big, crazy city with A LOT of people, many of whom live in teeny tiny flats that don't allow pets. Ergo the boom of the "pet cafe" where you can go to drink a cup of tea in the company of cats, rabbits, goats and even owls." it makes think to travel with my dog>>> But can i have an accommodation there with my pet... I expereinced best accommodation in Kiama... Hope there also

  8. would love to go to one of these cat cafes if i ever end up in tokyo. cute overload!

  9. Sara (Belly Rumbles)March 15, 2014 at 12:55 AM

    Loved this post Mel. Not something I would ever do in Japan as i am not really a cat person, but absolutely loved reading about it. Loved your line "If you want to hear a bunch of Japanese girls scream like...girls...then this is the place to be my friends." about the bunny cafe. I can hear them now LOL!

  10. Mr C @ The Food DiaryMarch 16, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    Loved all the interesting cafes in Tokyo, it's so fun to see the quirky places hidden around.

  11. Been following your Japan adventures as I'll be heading up there myself later this year! I'm not a huge fan of cats, to be honest, so not sure if I'll go to a cat cafe. I'd probably be more at home at a rabbit cafe, though I would feel sad seeing all the other rabbits in their cages. I have a friend who owns a rabbit and he (the rabbit) is house trained - I had no idea you can train a rabbit! But yeah, it's a cute little thing that runs around the apartment and hides under the couch when visitors arrive.

    I'd love to go to a dog cafe if they exist!

  12. I'm sure there are puppy cafes...they have everything else.

  13. It certainly is an interesting place isn't it!

  14. We got lost too, but I never gave up....we're talking cats afterall!

  15. Not a cat person? I don't understand?!?!

  16. I'm the craziest cat lady in the world! The cat cafes are a blast - a totally must do if you're a cat lover.

  17. Cats in a bowls are THE BEST! Sqquueeee!

  18. You need to visit more than's your duty as a cat lady!

  19. Isn't he cute. He was under the weather though so no pats for him. Boo.

  20. Johanna@Green Gourmet GiraffeMarch 21, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Those cafes look amazing - I am not surprised to hear the cat ones are clean but the rabbit ones with all the cages looks less enticing. My favourite cat is the one in the striped jumper in the one of the top photos. Glad there is somewhere for crazy cat ladies to go in Japan - apparently there is a cat cafe to be opened in geelong
    Johanna @

  21. Definitely a cat needs a lot of pampering. If you want to ensure your cat stays comfy & healthy while you are away, SmallPaws Cattery Accomodation is the best you can find.


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