Izu Shaboten Zoo social distance
Photo: Izu Shaboten Zoo

This Japanese café is enforcing social distancing with adorable soft toys

Located inside Shizuoka’s Izu Shaboten Zoo, Gibbontei has found the perfect use for all those empty seats

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Written by
Youka Nagase
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With the pandemic and the new normal, most – if not all – cafés and restaurants are implementing social distancing measures to keep customers and staff safe. If you thought Tokyo’s Social Distancing Cafe had a set-up that looked a bit too serious, Gibbontei might just be the place for you.

Izu Shaboten Zoo social distancing
Photo: Izu Shaboten Zoo


This café inside Shizuoka’s Izu Shaboten Zoo does social distancing differently, adding in plushie versions of the zoo’s beloved critters. Instead of a room full of deliberately empty seats, the café is crowded with capybara and red panda plushies – they take up almost half of the seats, ensuring customers can keep their distance without the usual awkwardness. It’s like you’re having lunch with your softest, cutest friends.

Izu Shaboten Zoo social distance
Photo: Izu Shaboten Zoo


Don’t be afraid to cuddle them, either. The plushies, tables and chairs are all disinfected after each customer leaves. Plus, you’ll find hand sanitiser at the entrance, so drop in for a visit and make some new furry friends.

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