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The top animal cafés in Tokyo

Because sometimes you just need a furry friend – or an animal you can watch

How about coffee with bunnies? It's animal cafés galore in Tokyo

Tokyo has achieved world-wide fame due to its animal cafés. The original craze started with cat cafés, but has slowly expanded to accommodate a wide range of animal lovers. High time for a list, we thought. Of course, we had some ethical concerns as well, so we sought out those cafés that seemed as animal-friendly as possible, with few to no cages and enough space to wander. Whether the animals seemed stressed or not, and were well-cared for was a factor as well. Bonus points for those who give the animals 'off time', in which you're not allowed to pet them or be near them. With this in mind, we've compiled our top spots around the capital, ranging from the ubiquitous cats down to snakes and owls.

Note: venues either have a cover charge or require one drink order.

Cats

Temari no Ouchi

Even just arriving at Temari no Ouchi, it's clear that this isn't your average cat café. The doors are shaped in a fairytale-esque arch, and as soon as you step inside you're transported into a cat-filled world. There's plenty of space for the cats to run around or nap, and they can always retreat to the back of the room, where there's a (cage-less) staff section. The menu features a variety of drinks (everything from coffee to cocktails) and food – the snacks and cakes are quite popular.

Cover charge: ¥1,200 weekdays, ¥1,600 weekends, ¥700 after 7pm

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Kichijoji

MoCHA Shibuya

Lovers of small, cute cats, beware: you might not want to leave this place. We wandered around for over an hour and still didn't want to leave the little ones. Opened in July 2015, MoCHA's Shibuya outlet houses a wide variety of cats, most of whom are still quite young. The entire decor seems as if it was designed with nothing but the cats' well-being in mind, with lots of perches, hideouts and even small alcoves through which they can run to the staffroom if the attention just gets a bit too much. We went there on an early Thursday afternoon, and although there were a reasonable amount of people, the two floors and ample seating space meant it was never cramped. With the ¥200 per 10 minutes price tag, the flow of people also changes – office workers popping by for half an hour during their lunch break and locals who just want to while away the afternoon. Nab a seat in one of the hanging chairs or on one of the couches downstairs for some of the best petting action.

Cover charge: ¥200/10min

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Shibuya

Rabbits

Ms Bunny

Unlike some animal cafés, where the focus is more on the café aspect than the animals, Ms Bunny really puts the spotlight on the rabbits. The tiny café houses about 12 bunnies, along with a handful of hedgehogs. Although the bunnies are in cages, they all have 'off' times to ensure they don't get too stressed out, and you're only allowed to have one rabbit for 10 minutes at a time – staff carefully monitor this. There's quite the variety, both in breed and in character. Our bunny, which was described as very genki (energetic and cheerful), was hyperactive and preferred to roam around than quietly sit, unlike some of the others. Good on him, though. The rabbit treats (¥300) are a good investment, as it calms down even the feistiest ones down (for a second, that is). The ¥850 (¥1,000 on weekends) cover charge includes holding two different rabbits within 30 minutes – if you want more variety within the same time, it’s ¥300 per extra rabbit. There’s even the possibility to take their superstar bunny Karumen out for a walk in Roppongi; ask staff for options. If you can’t get enough of the bunnies and would rather take care of one at home, don't worry: most of them are for sale as well.

Cover charge: ¥850/30 min weekdays, ¥1,000/30 min weekends

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Roppongi

With Bunny

With an impressive five floors and an additional rooftop terrace, With Bunny is one of the largest animal cafés in town. Rather than just being your average rabbit café, it bills itself as a theme park and museum for educational experience, and wants you to engage and bond with the bunnies. You can choose one bunny per person, but if you’re a die-hard bunny-lover, you can ask to switch after a while. There is a range of different courses, from 30 minutes to 2 hours (from ¥2,480, one drink incl). Be warned though: the various add-ons can make it quite a pricey endeavour, and if you're after a more full-on experience (including taking them out for a walk on the rooftop), expect your bill to rack up quickly. So yes, the prices are a bit steep, we know. But instead of going to cramped and cheap animal cafés, why not go to a place which actually takes good care of them? Happy rabbits make happy customers, too. And with 26 bunnies hopping around, you're sure to get the most out of your bunny quality time.

Cover charge: from ¥2,480

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Asakusa

Dogs

Dog Heart from Aquamarine

You should only visit a dog café if you truly love dogs. You need to love that they will climb on your lap and lick your iPhone and make your hands smell like dog and fight over bones and possibly do their business on the floor right in front of you. If you’re visiting Dog Heart, in particular, you should also love toy poodles since they make up the majority of the pups here (there was also one beagle in the mix when we visited). Like many animal cafés, the café section is not a big feature of the place – it’s hidden at the back and only as we were leaving did we notice the table and chairs peeking out. But that’s okay, since your main reason for visiting will be to make friends with Ribon, who has clearly mastered the art of dominating attention by charging for your lap the minute you sit down and not budging, no matter what histrionics play out around you. We only stayed for 30 minutes, but you can also rent one of the dogs for an hour and take them for a walk to nearby Yoyogi Park. Either way, it’s bound to lift your mood, as dogs do.

Cover charge: ¥950/30 min, ¥1,550/60 min, one-hour dog rental, ¥3,600

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Yoyogi-Hachiman

Birds

Kotori Café Omotesando

A very colourful, flapping affair greets you when you walk up to the entrance of Kotori Café in Omotesando. The entire front window is actually one of the four glass aviaries built in the café. There's no cover charge, but you'll be expected to order at least one drink, and your visit will be limited to an hour when it's busy. The birds themselves are happily chirping away while you sip your coffee, and are of a startling variety: everything from the slightly larger white cuckatoo named Taichi and a mid-sized parrot to rosy-faced lovebirds and technicoloured canaries make an appearance. For those who want a small petting session, the café offers five-minute options as well (at a charge).

No cover charge, drinks from ¥800

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Aoyama

Fukurou Sabou

The space inside Fukurou Sabou is small, with three tables of four cosily accommodating small groups and dates beside each other. There’s a friendly atmosphere held together by a sense of collective appreciation; excited chatter and laughter between tables is punctuated by moments of hushed silence each time a new owl is brought in. One menu is used to order your mandatory drink, another to 'order' your owl. Owls range from ¥300 to ¥1,000, based on how rare they are rather than size or popularity. Though we have ethical concerns about keeping nocturnal animals awake during daytime hours, the issue is mitigated to some degree by the owner’s fondness for his birds and the fact that they are ensured rests. When we selected the smallest (and no doubt most popular) owl we were told that his ‘shift’ was over and asked to choose another.

Cover charge: ¥300-¥1,000 depending on the owl, drinks from ¥500

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Kokubunji

Snakes

Tokyo Snake Center

Housed on the eighth floor of a Harajuku multi-use building is Tokyo's latest addition to the already long list of animal cafés. The Snake Center is home to a slithering collection of serpents, all very well trained and non-poisonous. Pay ¥1,000 at the counter for entrance, one drink and the right to pick out a snake of your choice to hang out with, and spend a few hours nibbling on cake and sipping coffee while your reptilian friend observes you from the safety of its transparent box.

Cover charge: ¥1,000 (incl one drink)

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Harajuku

Goats

Sakuragaoka Café

More of a café-with-goats than a goat café, this leisurely Shibuya spot is a good place to kick back with a coffee and stare at goats. The specimens are named Sakura and Chocolat (guess which colour is who), and generally seem quite okay with their surroundings – for those spiritually inclined, they even have a massive crystal hanging about. Nab a table outside for some real intimate moments, as the goats often try to stick their head through the bars to nibble at anything within reach.

No cover charge, drinks from ¥500, food from ¥700

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Shibuya

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Comments

20 comments
Charles H
Charles H

I think it's very irresponsible that you are promoting 'animal cafes' on your website.


There are myriad issues for the welfare of animals in these environments and it is not something you should be supporting or encouraging tourists to visit.


Nancy L
Nancy L

THANK YOU Charles. An enlightened soul, finally.

Joanne M
Joanne M

You do not mention anything in your post about age restrictions for children? We are going to Tokyo with my 5 and 10 yr old next week and I was under the impression children were not allowed in these cafes?


Virginia G
Virginia G

I would like to see which cafe you'd suggest that is closest to Odaiba :)  My children would love to see cats, hedgehogs, and snakes!  How nice.  My daughter went to a local cat cafe in Denver for her 18th birthday, but a Japanese one will be such an experience!

Nancy L
Nancy L

Well Darkest and Sylvie, it's pretty common knowledge that the Japanese, as a culture, not every individual, do not have the most stellar reputation regarding their attitudes and treatment of living creatures. The occasional, very trusting and outgoing animal may not particularly mind this new way to exploit animals for humans' benefit and entertainment. But these are captive animals having to deal with strangers daily and that is stressful. Just another petting zoo, but you probably approve of those as well. You are very naive, and must not read (at all?) much about what goes on in the world, outside your comfortable bubble. Yes it is exhausting worrying about the exploitation, neglect, abuse, cruelty and barbarism towards animals, and also overwhelming and heartbreaking, so what? It's important. I get you, most selfish people do not consider the welfare of other species, it's all about them. You are beyond ridiculous, you are part of the problem.

alina a
alina a

@Nancy L  "Japanese, as a culture, not every individual, do not have the most stellar reputation regarding their attitudes and treatment of living creatures". Are you serious? Japanese as a culture and that pretty much means almost every individual, are one of the most compelling and humane nations in the world. Judging by your comment, you are probably racist and consider anyone but yourself evil and imperfect. The animals are being well taken care of and after hours are given plenty of outdoors time and freedom. Have you never considered human interaction as something positive? Nancy L...the problem here is you and your "superior" attitude, when in real life you are probably abusing the nature a lot more...

Nancy L
Nancy L

Oh please Alina, that is so incorrect as to be laughable. You obviously know nothing about racism, animals, nor the Japanese. Japan is in the news all the time for horrific (and some, illegal) acts against animals. And how does my concern for the welfare of animals translate into 'being the problem' and having a 'superior' attitude? (Think you meant to say 'attitude of superiority' btw). Just stating the facts. You are either in denial, or too unaware to have a viable opinion. Finally, you know nothing about my real life and how I live it so again, don't comment on things you know nothing about. It is typical for the poorly educated to resort to personal insults...I see you and Sylvie are no exception.

Charles H
Charles H

@alina a @Nancy L "one of the most compelling and humane nations in the world" hahahahahahahaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nancy L
Nancy L

Yes, absurd isn't it? Wake up Alina.

Nancy L
Nancy L

What a horrible idea. More animal exploitation and inevitably abuse. Leave these poor animals alone and let them live in their natural environment.

Darkest B
Darkest B

It's not abuse if the animals are taken good care of. And where are you going to put all the dogs, cats, goats and bunnies? Should they go to their 'natural' enviroment when they probably already have homes?

At the owl cafe, you're not allowed to touch the owls because its stresses them out, if they were honestly being abused then you'd be allowed to touch them.

I'd assume most of the animals are rescues, especially the owls, snakes, dogs and cats.

Not everything involving animals and humans is abuse. If you can give me some evidence where the animals are abused, please do, but I won't take it as abuse unless the animals are kept in horrid conditions and/or hurt by the keepers in some way.

Sylvie L
Sylvie L

@Nancy L And what, pray tell, is the "natural environment" of the cats and dogs?  Isn't it exhausting to assume that everything that has to do with animals is "abuse"?  These animals are being fed and housed, and being given affection, how the hell is that abuse?  People like you just see "animal" and assume it's abusive.  You're ridiculous.

reformatt
reformatt

@Nancy L go live in the Jungle for a year, let's see how nice animals are going to treat you

Nancy L
Nancy L

More ignorance. What is it with this site?

Why would I expect or even want jungle animals to be nice to me? How absurd. Fortunately for you, tragically for the world, 'jungle animals' as you call them, probably won't be an issue in years to come as humans, in their infinite wisdom, are tearing down all the jungles, to make a buck.

Joshua M
Joshua M

@Nancy L Yes, deforestation is a problem. Yes, various species of animals are regularly added to lists of endangered or extinct fauna. No-one is arguing with you on those points, but there's frankly no need to include irrelevant facts in an attempt to justify your personal opinion (because that's all it is without reliable sources of information). Yes, Japan can often be present in news articles for issues such as the Taiji dolphin drives - do all Japanese support that just because it is a cultural tradition? No. In fact many Japanese people are strongly against it. 


The largest fallacy of your argument is that you are generalising entire foundations of people on a basis of 'this news article' or 'that comment.' America, Australia, all of Europe... everyone of these places has zoos, each of these places allows varieties of domesticated animals to be kept as pets, all of them have individuals who are carnivorous, and all of them have individuals who have little to no empathy for animals. Each is as ever-present in the news for many the same reasons as Japan, but you are desensitised to it as it occurs so consistently within our own nations, or your perspective can be dulled, because it is the actions of 'one person' or 'one group of people,' in dire contrast to how you view such instances as this as being 'a Japanese problem.'

Yes, our societies and cultures all need to make changes if we are to ever succeed in tackling some of the world's greatest issues, especially in terms of our destructive natures toward our natural environments; but to ridicule, degrade, and condescend on those who are, in the very least, caring for these animals to the best of their ability, is only going to work against yourself. If you truly want to benefit the world and society in a constructive manner, you should start by abandoning your destructive social tendencies, because to convey a fair point in a negative light to another individual leaves no point to be seen, only the negativity.

Think before you speak or act - as everyone should - and lead by example; and problems such as what you see here will have a clearer solution.

Nancy L
Nancy L

You make very thoughtful and literate points, but it was a waste of your time. Without addressing your entire diatribe, I will simply say that I think these ridiculous cafe's are exploitative, another way to use animals to make a profit. I will also say, in my experience and knowledge, where there are animals, there is eventually abuse, and anyone who says differently is naive. I made a comment against these cafe's and was aggressively attacked by several posters. I am not going to let someone tell me that the Japanese culture is one of the most humane. They eat live sushi and bullfrogs for god's sake. I am not ignoring the exploitation and cruelty that exists in my country. I am well aware and spend a fair amount of time fighting against it. But that was not the issue in the Timeout Tokyo article was it? You are barking up the wrong tree.

Nancy L
Nancy L

And yes, you yourself should think before you speak or act. You make many false assumptions in your lecture....that I'm not aware that other nations/cultures mistreat animals - I fight against ALL animal abuse; that I feel all Japanese are guilty - I specifically said I do not. And why are you not critical of the ignorant comments from those who attacked me? Your bias is showing. I wonder how you justify Japan's horrific, and illegal, whaling industry? Shame on you.

Alexandra S
Alexandra S

@Sylvie L 

The stupidity is strong in this one. 


1. Ever heard of a thing called Domestication? Where we took wild animals and made them domesticated over the timeframe of hundreds of years? So... on a scale from 1 to 10, how domesticated do you think snakes are? Or Owls? Or Penguins for that matter (yet another horrible cafe that the author luckily didn't list in this horrific list). Answer: 0. They are not. They are wild animals and they belong in the wild. Period. 

Even cats, though domesticated, are wild to an extent. Overexposure to other cats and moreso, humans, can stress them out immensely.


2. Here's a thought experiment. If you got abducted tonight by a random guy and from now on had to live in a tiny space for the rest of your life, but the guy really, really, really liked you and gave you lots of treats and attention. Would you be happy? Now, yes, I know that many of these animals were probably bred in captivity but here's the thing, humans have, over thousands of years, learned to dampen their insticts to the point of eliminating them. Most other animal species still rely on those though. Instincts like climbing, fleeing, fighting, flying, swimming. It's cruel to keep them from what their bodies and minds are telling them to do.


3. Many of those species are solitary and territorial animals, so putting them together into such tiny spaces is problematic.


4. Something, specific to the owl cafe: Owls are nocturnal, which, I'm sure even the densest person knows. Keeping them inside with artificial lighting, during the day, with no dark corners for them to withdraw into is cruel, and abusive. 


Fact is, as long as you keep interacting with animals without taking their needs (not just talking about food and "affection" here) into consideration, it's cruel.


PS: Why would you think all of those animals actually enjoy being handled (which you refer to as being shown "affection")? Because your cat or your dog does? If anyone here is ridciulous, it's you in your naivité.



And for god's sake: Fondness does NOT negate cruelty and/or abuse! That's fucked-up pedophile logic!

Charles H
Charles H

@Darkest B  Clearly someone with no understadning on any level of the concept of animal welfare


Nancy L
Nancy L

THANK YOU!!! A voice of reason, intelligence and compassion.