I have officially fulfilled one of the things I wanted to do in Japan. Go to an Owl Cafe! Like cat cafes, owl cafes are places where you go to hang out with animals. only instead of cats, its owls! Owl cafes are fairly new in Japan, and I believe the first ones started in Osaka. They have become more popular so a couple have started up in Tokyo as well. There is at least two that I know of, the one I went to and another one in Tsukishima. I know a lot of other exchange students at Waseda have been to the one in Tsukishima from pictures on facebook, but I am glad I went to the one I did!
The place we went was called ふくろう茶房, or Fukuro Sabo. It’s a bit outside Tokyo, about a 10 minute walk from Kokubunji Station. The cafe itself wasn’t too big, but the fact that it was small and run by a family made it seem . . . less commercialized? To enter you had to order some food or a drink, but you could stay in the cafe as long as you wanted! Drinks were around five dollars, but when that’s your entry fee to unlimited time in an animal cafe its cheap! If you wanted to pet the owls you had to pay extra (SO WORTH IT) and were given towels and a protective glove. Petting time is limited to three minutes.This may seem like very little, but owls are not exactly house pets like cats or dogs or rabbits. However, almost all the owls in this cafe were very well behaved, very tame, and were used to humans. and it was clear that they adored the owners, who talked about how the owls liked to play with their kids.
Over all it was an AMAZING place. I would definitely love to go there again someday!
(I know some people will feel a little uncomfortable with treating owls like this . . . obviously owls are nocturnal and should not be awake during the day. I don’t feel too comfortable thinking about that either, but it was reassuring to go to a place where it was clear the owls were well looked after. They were fed the same kind of diet they would eat in the wild, and their living quarters were spacious and clean with an garden outside. It was also clear that all of these owls were raised to be pets, there were even a few available for sale. I certainly don’t think that owls should be exploited and captured from the wild to populate animal cafes just so tourists like me can gawk at them. But I did not get any feeling of exploitation from this cafe in the slightest. Of course people may still chose to disagree, but I thought I should add a bit of a disclaimer.)
Now for the fun part, PHOTOS!