With cat, dog, rabbit, snake and countless other animal cafés already in town, we were surprised to hear that Roppongi's Harry, located only a minute away from the station, is Japan's first dedicated hedgehog café. With all the (mainly international) media attention it's been getting recently, fellow customers on our visit were mostly foreign tourists vacationing in Tokyo, who opted to mingle with hedgehogs instead of visiting the more ‘outdated’ cat and dog cafés. Harry occupies the second floor of a building that also houses a bunny cafe (getting a little crowded, eh?), and is home to more than 20 ultra-adorable hedgehogs that become your friends for half an hour in exchange for a flat ¥1,000 (¥1,300 on weekends).
The name of the place is a play on the Japanese word ‘hari’, which means needle and is part of 'harinezumi' (hedgehog, literally 'needle mouse'). When there, you're free to scour the shop, find your favourite hedgehog and play with it, rub its belly and cradle it to your heart's content. The little cuties come in a variety of sizes and colours – ‘salt 'n pepper’, ‘pied’, ‘cinnamon’ and ‘albino’ – all guaranteeing unlimited cuddles.
Still, do remember that the hedgehogs can tire and become a little hostile at times – don't touch ones that perk up their quills or appear drowsy. On our visit, some were more active than others and didn’t want to be bothered, while some were comfortable enough to fall asleep in our hands. You can pay an extra ¥500 for mealworm snacks which can be fed to the little fellows, or even buy a hedgehog (¥20,000-¥30,000) to take home (but don't make that decision lightly!).
The café stocks coffee and tea, but feel free to bring your own food and drinks. Due to its recent opening, Harry is currently supremely crowded and operates mainly on a reservation system, so book your spot through their website. You can only make reservations for at least an hour, which will cost ¥2,000 (¥2,600 on weekends), while eight walk-in spots are available for every 30-minute time slot.