Being in Japan the first time in October 2023, I also explored some of the rather non-European ways to spend some time. One of these places in Tokyo is definitely the Owl Cafe “Fukurou”. It is not a cafe in a sense that you can order your hazelnut milk decaf latte, but the design is rather similar to a small cafe. The reason to visit the place are roughly 40 owl of different species, which (during the afternoon) live in there to make some new friends with visitors. My wife and I just had to go for this one. Here is my review.
Owl Cafe Fukurou – Location & Admission
The Owl Cafe is located in a small street in Chiyoda City. You rather know the area due to the adjacent electronic entertainment and shopping quarter Akihabara. The Akihabara station (rail, Hibiya Line) is also the best way to get to the Owl Cafe Fukurou by public transport. It is just a short walk when you leave the station on the East side. Alternatively, you can use the Shinjuku Line to Iwamotocho. It is a bit of difficult to find the building which is full of portraits of their prominent residents.
There are five time slots per day, you have to book in advance. Each time slot is 40 minutes, followed by a 20 minute rest for the animals. You have to reserve the visit online beforehand. During our stay, one adult was 2,200 JPY, a little less than 13 EUR. Children under the age of 7 are not allowed at all.
Owl Cafe Fukurou – The Concept
Before your time slot, you wait in front of the cafe in the typical Japanese way – the “waiting line” is a set of stools in front of the building. The windows are closed and covered with the portraits, so that the animals and visitors are not disturbed. You can use the waiting time to read through the very informative folders (in English and Japanese), which introduces you to the basic rules, but also to all the owls living in the cafe. The owls to have their fixed position in the cafe. Apart from their name and basic data like species and weight (the folder contains much more information…), they may be marked as Baby (i.e. the owl is very young) or as being in break time. In that case you must not interact with them in any way. Otherwise, if they are on their position and relaxed, you may gently “pet” them with a finger on the forehead.
In general, the animals are used to being touched, but it is not a natural behavior, so that it is strictly handled not to pet them differently. Furthermore, any kind of loud noises or fast movements are forbidden to avoid stress. During your session you may take up to two owls on your arms (separately). The very caring owners seat you in a way that there are no conflicts between the animals. They also take a few snaps of you, but you are free to take pictures (no flash, of course) with your camera.
Owl Cafe Fukurou – The Visit
After we explored the cafe (and took the majority of pictures you see above), my wife and I went for rather small owls – the smallest of the ones in the cafe are less than 200g, while some are 3kg and more. Both of our owls were young ones as well. Sarah’s owl (I forgot both names… Not all are on the website) was a bit more active and was also interested in the armband of her watch, while my tiny new fried was very happy on my upper arm and shoulder. They provide small pillars which allow you to rest your arm on it, so that you can easily hold the owls for 20 or 30 minutes.
The key thing is of course that you feel that the animals are treated well. I felt that the couple who is driving the Owl Cafe Fukurou is doing that with a lot of passion, but also respect for the owls. The did not feel stressed at all and even felt to stay calm when people happened to be a bit louder than expected. I really loved to watch these lovely animals and learned a lot about them during the session.
Owl Cafe Fukurou – Services
The hosts were lovely and very caring. They tool pictures of you during the session. You get one picture for free as a gift, which is really nice. You can buy the remaining ones after the session online. It takes a while to finally receive them, but 2,000 Yen for these pictures is a lovely price.
Owl Cafe Fukurou – My View
I absolutely loved the experience of visiting the Owl Cafe Fukurou in Tokyo. It is relaxing, somehow cooling you down after all the walking through the city. More than that, you’ve got two very friendly hosts and a very memorable experience. I felt that the owls overall have a good time as well. I definitely would go to this place again.
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