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Cafés to interact with animals (2⁄3)

In Japan, cafés that let you get up close and interact with animals enjoy popularity, with the variety of cafés increasing every year. So what is the charm of these “animal cafés,” which are currently a mainstay when it comes to healing spots? Next we’ll report on the hot topic of bird cafés!

“toricafe,” where birds of prey will perch on your arm and make you feel like Harry Potter!

Raku may have a majestic aura, but we hear that he has only taken to the shop owner. His bashfulness, which belies his appearance, is quite charming.

One type of animal cafe that has gradually picked up steam in recent years is the bird cafe. In particular, shops with birds of prey such as owls are particularly popular. We stopped in at “toricafe” in Kiba, where you can see birds of prey and parrots/parakeets from up close, and even interact with them. It’s truly a coveted place for bird lovers!

Stand in front of the shop, which is on the building’s first floor, and immediately the birds come into view through the window. Of those birds, Raku, a Eurasian eagle-owl--one of the world’s largest species of owl--has a presence that distinguishes him from the rest.

No entrance fees or charges are required; customers are OK as long as they order food or drinks. In addition, aside from busy periods, there are no time limits, either. When we visited, the birds that permanently reside here--known as “bird staff”--numbered 7 birds of prey and 7 parrots/parakeets.

The shop interior has a model of a large tree, creating the feel of being in a forest.

The blue-and-yellow macaw, one of the world’s largest species of parrot, from close range!

Inside the shop, in addition to bird staff, there are also birds that are up for sale. They greet customers at the entrance.

The bird staff generally stay inside glass cases. “This is so we can have customers see the birds from up close, while also considering sanitation,” explains Mika Toriyama, the shop manager. It is quite powerful to sit in seats where you can look up and see, for example, a blue-and-yellow macaw right in front of you. While it seems like a place where serious bird lovers would gather, Ms. Toriyama says, “Of course there are customers who are very into birds, but there are also lots of customers who come casually. Since these are animals that people don’t get to see very often, it’s exciting to upload pictures to social network sites!”

Here we are enjoying interaction time with Chobo, a rufous-legged owl. For a short time we monopolize his big, round eyes and fluffy feathers. We feel almost like Harry Potter...!

The highlight of this shop comes just before going home. Customers can interact with the birds for 500 yen, but in consideration of sanitation, this portion is conducted when customers are leaving the shop. You can choose your favorite bird among 5 owls and a hawk (Harris’s hawk), put on a special glove, and interact. What’s more, you’re allowed a whole 5 minutes!

The café menu is especially varied among animal cafés, featuring owl-themed sweets and beer among other items. The shop also has a rich variety of merchandise with a bird motif, such as original magnets. If you’re a bird lover, by all means stop by!

You can choose your favorite among these 5 owls and a hawk (Harris’s hawk) and enjoy time together!

The cafe menu is quite varied. On the left is “coffee jelly with Ban’s face” (600 yen), and on the right is “Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale” (1,000 yen).

Seven Star Mansion 1F, 2-6-7 Kiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-5809-8865
Shop hours: Weekdays 1 PM - 9 PM; Weekends/holidays 11 AM - 9 PM
Regular holiday: Wednesdays