A ball of string, a skim latté and a few felines; Cat Cafés Japan
September 6, 2014
A quirky Japanese past time that appears to be rather popular; café culture with something else on offer. Meow. Yep, i know, this is not for everyone, but if you are in Japan, and at all intrigued, i think it's an unusual experience worth checking out.
Here's what i thought of the three we visited...
Nekokaigi Cat Café, Kyoto - A peaceful and peculiar way to enjoy a latté or iced tea
We entered a nicely sized, sunny, air conditioned, clean room, bordered with ground level comfy sofas and tables. On the counter, this little redhead was bathing with a towel on his head...luckily there was an explanation in plain ole English next to him;
The middle of the room was spotted with cushions and cats lounging around waiting for a pat. There were two roof high climbing posts and a few big mixing bowls where a few of the cats had curled up in. The man and lady behind the counter took our 900 yen entry fee per person for the hour and we ordered our cappuccino and iced tea for the normal 300 yen per drink.
Our table had a folder with the cafés history and a description of each of the 13 cats (in English!). The cats were adopted from a volunteer in 2008 so are all rescue animals. They each had a fabric collar with their names, which was a subtle detail that the other cafés didn't have. We didn't buy any extra cat treats as they were all very friendly.
The most unusual thing about this cafe was the manner in which the cats enjoyed a pat. They weren't interested in a scratch under the ear, but rather quite a firm pat on their lower back. A room of patrons patting cats in this way makes for quite a laugh!
The drinks were nice, the air conditioning a pleasant reprieve from the 30°C heat outside, and the cats made for a very relaxing way to rest our tired feet.
Highly recommended. If you want to visit a cat café in Japan, this is the one to go too. Calm, relaxing, cool, and clean.
590 Oikedaitocho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-0942, Japan
Hapi Neko Cat Café, Shibuya, Tokyo - A small café to offer reprieve from the bustling Shibuya outside
Hapi Neko is a small cat café in a very busy suburb. It is clean but a little cluttered, which is understandable as the real estate here is under high demand.
The couches are normal height so you don't sit down at ground level, and there is not a lot of room to sit in the middle on the floor and play with the kitties.
Well, that's if you could get them to acknowledge you! These cats are well versed in the 108 yen cat treat package, and if you don't buy one, don't expect a cat to come near you. Once my treats were all gone, pretty much all on this one silver tabby, he had no interest in sitting near me for a scratch (no back slapping for these guys!).
It was well air conditioned, served drinks and clean, but definitely not as sunny and spacious as Nekokaigi.
If in Tokyo, this is a good one to pick, but if Kyoto is on your travel plan, Nekokaigi beats it.
Cratos Building (3rd floor), 2-28-3 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo
Calico Cat Café, Shinjuku, Tokyo - An easy way to check out some interestingly exotic breeds
On the internet, this is the cat café people are recommending. Yes, it has a very broad range of exotic breeds - Singapura, Bengal, American Curl, British Blue, Maine Coon, Birman, Ocicat, Abyssinian, Persian, Munchkin and American Shorthair - and offers a TV and playstation for those that want to play video games with a cat by their side, but it is huge, houses about 50 cats, is very busy and smells of cat pee.
We didn't want to order a drink here as it just felt unclean. There were paper towels in a few places covered in cat pee, which both levels of the café smelt of.
It was interesting seeing and photographing the different breeds, particularly the ones I hadn't seen in real life before, but we were quick to get out if there. And to top it off, as we were leaving this alfa Bengal male casually walked over to a Dutch tourist's back pack as she was taking it out of the temporary lockers, and sprayed it. Hiss.
Despite the gorgeous cats, I would give this café a pass. It doesn't offer a pleasant place to have a coffee and break from the heat and busyness of Shinjuku. And it may just leave a crinkle in your coat.
Huzi Building 5/6F (6F entrance) 1-16-2 Kabukicho, Shinjuku
All these cafés offer free wi-fi and are a little hard to navigate from the street. All of these ones were located on the upper levels up stairs or elevators. The cafés range from about 800 yen to 1500 yen entry fee for an hour.