I recently went to a cat café and wrote about it. If you read that post you might anticipate me having a similar response to this café as I had at the cat café—well you’d be wrong. DEAD WRONG! There are a million things cooler and more interesting about an owl café as compared to a cat café. The #1 thing being that it was full of OWLS! Not cats.
You might remember that one of the few things I was impressed with at the cat café was that the cats were “exotic” varieties. I mean, otherwise, they’re just cats—nothing all that amazing about ‘just cats’. But there are no ‘basic, boring’ owls. All owls are amazing! Even, lets call them ‘common’ owls in the wild are amazing up close, and personal. Who in the world is ‘bored’ of owls because they’re so abundant and commonplace that their interactions with them are no longer impressive? Who is this person?! NO ONE!
The café is located in Akihabara, Tokyo. It is called, Akiba Fukurou. The outside is rather unimpressive, no real signs or anything to call attention to it. Just a few pictures of the owls in the windows showing that every time slot for the day is “sold out”. You have to make reservations either in person or thru the website, no phone number is available. In fact, they are usually booked for days ahead during the week and even further out for weekends. The cost was about $12.50 for 1 hour. There were 28 owls, and about 12-15 people (plus the two employees) while we were there. It should also be noted that it is called a ‘café’ but neither food or drink is available (which is fine, it would only detract from your owl experience).
You have to arrive 15 minutes early to read a binder full of info. It had rules for touching and handling the owls, etiquette for being around the owls, and some basic info about owls in general that was interesting. Then once you are sanitized and go inside, you are allowed to hold two different owls. You just let the employees know which you’d like and they get them for you. For the big ones or those that are more aggressive you have to wear a glove to hold. Those suckers’ claws are sharp (even the little ones)! They wear little leashes that you have to hold onto because sometimes they like to try and fly away. When you’re done holding your owl, the employee takes it back to its spot, or if it’s a good little one, they let him fly back. Some of the owls are NOT friends, so those that can’t play nice with the other owls can’t fly around on their own for every one's safety. The last thing anyone needs is the memory of when one owl ripped another little owl's head off—that seems bad for business.
They also take a group picture of everyone in your group holding an owl, and as a gift, you get to take a laminated print home. The owl I was holding, Spring Onion, was not friends with the owl next to me in the picture. They were giving each other the evil eye and making some hissing noises at each other. Amazingly enough, the picture still turned out great. There is a high likelihood that you will get pooped on. Three out of the four owls my group held pooped…so pretty high odds. One lady had her owl puke on her though so there’s always a chance of that! Either way, I’ll take the body fluids because getting puked on by an owl is 100x’s cooler than never having been close enough to an owl to have the chance to be puked on. I’d happily pay the $12.50 to run that risk again!