Tokyo: Animal Cafés

Tokyo: Animal Cafés

It’s an unfortunate reality that most animal interactions you dreamed of as a child – from swimming with dolphins to posing for selfies with a tiger – are actually downright cruel, and the same is true of Tokyo (and greater Japan’s) animal cafes. So although you might rack up a hundred likes on the ‘gram for cuddling up to a cute hedgehog, that hedgehog is actually a nocturnal creature whose natural habitat is not the bright lights of a café, and she does not reciprocate your affection (nor that of the hundred others who squeeze, hold and drop her each day).

Dog cafés select pure breeds only and often dress them in nappies; owl cafés are an obvious no, and you can argue that cats enjoy being cuddled, but the felines on display are all picked for temperament and cuteness. There’s actually an (outdoor) park in Ikebukuro you can check out that’s kind of an unofficial hub for friendly stray felines, so if you really need to get your fix, head there – it’s northwest of Sunshine City.

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