The Owl Cafe! Yup, seriously! There is an Owl Cafe in Tokyo, Japan! There are actually a few. What does that mean exactly? Well for about an hour you get to drink some coffee and hang out with owls. Crazy? Totally! Amazing? Absolutely!
My trip to Tokyo, Japan came as a surprise even for me. I felt like I haven’t traveled in a long time (kinda), although I was just in Sri Lanka late August and it seemed like everyone was going somewhere but me. So I started searching up some destination and came across some really cheap airfare to Tokyo that I just couldn’t pass up. Only by the time I decided to book them prices went up, but I was already sold, so I had to go. I booked my ticket within a few short hours of actually traveling to Tokyo, Japan and the question on my mind was, what will I be doing in Tokyo. I started searching up for the weirdest and craziest experience which Tokyo is very well known for.
Along my searching path, I came across some pretty awesomely weird stuff, but nothing was more bizarre to me than the Owl Cafe.
At first, I didn’t know what to think, is this place for real? I wondered…How could you drink coffee, while owls are flying everywhere? Is it safe? Clean? But most importantly, I was curious if the animals are treated well. That was the number one thing I was most concerned about. I have always been an animal lover, a vegetarian for 23 years and have owned so many different types of pets.
Recently, the news has been all about saving places where animal are being mistreated and I’m all about it. A good example of that is Sea World, if you haven’t watched Blackfish, please do! for me! Also, a famous touristy location that was recently shutdown was the Tigers Temple in Thailand, who were caught abusing the animals by beating them, drugging them and murdering them. Thank G*d that place closed.
As a travel blogger, I think it’s important to help cause awareness, especially to things that are important such as these. So I wasn’t fully sure if I wanted to actually spend the money and support a cafe called the Owl Cafe. During the time I was planning my itinerary, I knew all the awesome places I wanted to visit but still wasn’t sure about this place. I read a few reviews and articles from other bloggers and decided to give it a go. However, I wanted to get my own opinion on the matter, so I went. Surprisingly enough, this place was super clean, the staff was very friendly and were always concerned about the owls and the owls were, well…amazing.
The Cafe is opened from 11am-7pm so that the owls have time to rest up and have some time alone. Although, I’m not sure as to where the owls are kept during closing time.
What I really liked about this place was the fact that the staff really lets you know how each owl likes to be touched or not touched. They let you know for example, that this owl likes to only be touched on his head and to not touch his feet or the rest of the body. They will let you know if an owl is having an off day and isn’t feeling so friendly, which on those times, they leave the owls alone.
In realism, you only really get to hang with the owls for about 30mins and drink coffee in a separate room the other 30mins. Which gives the owls a break. They also limit the amount of people who can be in the room with the owls, so that it’s never too crowded or too much for the owls.
I’ll start off by saying that this place gets booked pretty fast and most people book it a few days in advance. So if you can, try to make a reservation (CLICK HERE TO MAKE RESERVATION). Since I was traveling solo, it was easier to fit me in there, but I also made sure to come the moment they opened.
The Owl Cafe in Harajuku is located on the 4th floor in a small office building. It’s right in the heart of Harajuku and right by the subway station, so if you take the subway, there is a stop right in front of it.
Upon arrival, you will have 2 packages to pick from, 1 is a 30min which allows you to only be there for 30mins and cost 1300 yens ($12) and the other is a full hour which is 1500 yens ($14), plus coffee and a small souvenir (I got a pin of my favorite owl Wasabi). Not sure if the 30mins package comes with coffee or not, but I went with the 60min option.
Once you have paid, you will either be told what time to come back or if there is room you can start right away.
The cafe operates on an hourly base, so the first tour starts at 11am next one at 12pm and so on.
Then you’re asked if you want coffee or tea and hang out in a lounge area while reading the rules of the place.
You are asked to not be too loud or scream because it scares the owls. You are also asked to be super gentle with them, which once you touch one for the first time, you totally will be because they are so gentle with you and also react like a puppy or cat that’s being pet. Some will even fall asleep as you pet them (so cute!).
You also aren’t allowed to use flash photography although videos and photos are allowed.
Once you finish your coffee, you are then asked to clean your hands with hand sanitizer and upon leaving asked to do the same.
There are different types of species of owls. They have big owls and small owls. We were told that the big and small owls don’t fully like each other so they stay at different sides of the room.
Once you’ve entered the room, you will be given a tour of the different types of owls, their names, their age and how they like to be touched. You can even pick them up with the staffs help. They will make you wear a glove so that you don’t get scratched by their nails. The owls can’t be potty trained, so this also helps if there is an accident.
While you’re there, you can feed them, which wasn’t on the menu for me, as I almost gagged at what they ate, which was baby chicken guts and also mice. You can pet them, take photos of them and just be at awe at how amazing they are. Some do small tricks by flying over to you.
and when it’s time to say goodbye, you’ll walk away with a bittersweet feeling because you probably wanted to hang out with these owls longer.
My favorite owl was Wasabi, he was just such a gentle soul, I’m totally obsessed with him and wanted to take him home with me.
Overall this place really takes good care of their owls and after experiencing it for myself, I highly recommend visiting the Owl Cafe. There are other animal cafes in Tokyo, there are cat cafes, puppy cafes, lizard cafes and more. While I didn’t visit the others, I do really hope they hold up to the same standards.
I’ll be writing a follow up post on the craziest cafes in Tokyo, Japan – So stay tuned.
Address: Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, 渋谷区Jingumae, 1 Chome−21−15, 原宿ATMビル
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