Imagine taking London’s originality, New York’s nightlife, Germany’s efficiency, and Las Vegas’s neon colors, ratcheting up the intensity of each quality by a hundred, and then putting them all together: That is Tokyo. The city is big, it’s busy, and it’s loud. Tokyo has its own thing going on: It’s where traditional ryokan and eclectic animal cafes collide. From owls to snakes and goats to hedgehogs, here are some places where you can get sake or coffee with a side of furry (or prickly) love.
Tokyo’s animal cafes have kept the city on the lips of the global community.* It all started with a cute and cuddly cat cafe in Taipei, Taiwan, beginning a trend that quickly spread around the world. But Tokyo has taken this trend to the next level. And hey — when you’re done cuddling at the cafe, you’ll probably want a comfortable hotel to snuggle in yourself! When planning your trip to see these animal cafes, choose a Tokyo hotel near public transportation to get there quickly.
Temari no Ouchi Cat Cafe
If you like to keep your animal cafes traditional, you’ll find Temari no Ouchi perfectly kawaii. At this Kichioji cat cafe, you pay a cover charge (¥700–1600) but there is no limit to how long you can spend petting the kittens (you may consider this good or bad, depending on whether the cafe is already full when you arrive). The decor looks you’ve stepped into a Hollywood version of Hansel and Gretel. Grab a seat, order a cocktail, nibble some cake, and enjoy the kitties!
Get There: Kichioji Station
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily
Tokyo Snake Center
If slithering serpents are more your thing, then head to the Tokyo Snake Center for fries and a milk snake on the side! Could you expect anything less from Harajuku, Tokyo’s young and hip fashion district? ¥1000 gets you one soft drink and your choice of a colorful, curly reptile to share your table with. All the snakes are nonvenomous species. For another ¥450, a trained snake handler will help you pet a snake of your choosing.
Get There: Meiji-Jingumae Station; Harajuku Station, Takeshita exit
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday–Monday
Hedgehog Cafe Harry
This cafe in Roppongi has more than 20 furry little hedgehogs that can become your little Sonic sidekick for half an hour (and ¥1000!). At this cafe, you can drink coffee or tea with your choice of a variety of hedgehogs. Keep in mind that these cuddly little creatures can get unfriendly and will perk up their quills when feeling threatened but generally are chill little dudes and dudettes. The Hedgehog Cafe is quite busy, so you’ll want to book your visit in advance online. Or, if you prefer something a bit less prickly, head to the third floor in the same building for Ms. Bunny, a rabbit cafe.
Get There: Roppongi Station, exit 3
Hours: noon to 9:00 p.m. daily
- Animal cafes can bring ethical concerns. The cafes mentioned here provide ample room and rest areas for their animals. If you venture away from those listed, try to find a cafe that does not use cages and that follows ethical animal handling practices.