In Japan, cat cafes have become old news. Right now, owl cafes are all the rage.This summer, I visited Fukuro no Mise, a shop that lets you drink coffee while petting over a dozen live owls.
The cafe launched in 2012, and its bizarre concept became so popular that more have opened up. Today, there are two owl cafes in Tokyo (Tori no Iru and Fukurou Sabou), and two in Osaka (Owl Family and Crew), all run by different owners.
Go straight to the cafe >
I recommend arriving at least an hour before doors open to make a reservation, since the spaces fill up quickly and can’t be booked in advance. I arrived at Fukuro’s exact opening time, which changes depending on the date, and the earliest availability was three hours later.
At the designated time, the staff let me in along with ten other customers. I saw fluffy owls staring at me from every corner. Some were smaller than my hand, others were larger than my head.
All the birds are tame, and have a leg attached to the perch by string. I had an hour to enjoy their company and sip a drink that is included with the cover charge. The café doesn’t serve food, so I didn’t have to worry about beaks pecking at my plate.
The staff gave a short introduction in Japanese — if you don’t know the language, there’s an English speaker on Fridays — and then it was owl-cuddling time. I pointed at a horned one, and the staff helped me put her on my shoulder, hand or head. The birds are calm and I felt comfortable holding them. Up close, I sensed the power of their talons and bright eyes, such majestic creatures.
The shop allows non-flash photography so bring your camera, and take a selfie with an owl on your wrist. Before the hour is up, don’t forget to browse the owl-themed memorabilia for sale.
To get to Fukuro no Mise, ride the subway to Tsukishima station (it takes about 40 minutes from Shinjuku). Walk out of Gate 10, and the café is a few blocks ahead. Entry is 2000 yen ($19.50), which includes a drink and gift book.