Tokyo is full of incredibly odd experiences just waiting to be discovered, but one of the most odd (and fulfilling) has to be the abundance of animal cafés in the city. It all began with cat cafés, helping locals satiate their need for nearness with animals. Since most people in Tokyo live in tiny apartments with busy schedules and can’t have pets, these cafés became a massive hit.
Since then the animal cafés have branched out far beyond cats: there are dog cafés as well as bunny, chinchilla, hedgehog and owl cafés. I decided to visit one of many owl cafés in the busy Akihabara neighborhood of Tokyo, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made yet.
The café I chose was Akiba Fukurou, which had a very large group of owls on hand. I must admit, I had some reservations about the whole thing before my visit. I wondered if the owls could actually be happy living in captivity, gawked at by tourists with cameras day in, day out.
What I found was a very pleasant surprise. The owls had been raised in captivity and this was the only life they’ve ever known. They seemed completely content with it. The staff was very attentive and affectionate with the owls and they seemed very much cared for. I spent an hour at the café, gently petting the owls and even having a few walk around my arm. At the end of the hour I felt like I wanted to take them all home with me… The whole thing turned out to be one of the best experiences I’ve ever had!
These too seemed like something of an item, sleeping against each other all afternoon
I made friends with Arsène Lupin, a spotted wood owl who bit my nipple and fell asleep in my arms
I had a staring contest with Mr. Yamatoshi, who chose to use my arm as his personal toilet
Akiba Fukurou Owl Café’s website: akiba2960.com
Leaving the calm café behind, the busy streets of Akihabara felt like an entirely different world