In Japan, the concept of “cute” or “cuteness” is somewhat of a cult. Cats are cute. Independent, moody, graceful, beautiful, but also cute. So, it’s only logical that there should be many cat cafés in Japan. Yes, but simply “many” doesn’t even begin to describe it. You can find cat cafes in all the popular entertainment districts and there are a great variety of themes to satisfy any preference. Let us share with you some of our favourites.
A general rule at all cat cafes is that you have to wash your hands at the entrance and leave your belongings in a locker. Picking up the cats and taking pictures with a flash are not permitted. You can purchase snacks to feed the cats from the café menu but you’re not allowed to feed them with food bought from outside the café. We were pleasantly surprised and impressed that there were English-speaking staff on hand in all of the cafes we visited. Most of the cafes also had a comic book corner, where you could sit and read.
The coziest cafe
The chain of “Mocha” cat cafes is definitely the coziest ones. The main area is extremely spacious and the interior design is warm, creating a relaxed atmosphere. You can see many different breeds of cat and you’re free to just relax on one of the sofas and watch them sleeping or eating or just being cute. An “all-you-can drink” service is included in the general admission price and the staff can explain the rules to you in English as well. They have stores in Ikebukuro (2 stores), Shibuya and Harajuku (2 stores). You pay 200 yen for every 10 minutes you stay, so the amount you pay depends on how long you stay. Store operating hours are 10am-10pm, with no holidays or closing days. More information can be found here: http://catmocha.jp/ (English available on the website).
The cafe with the best sweets
“Calico” is one of the most popular cat cafés in Tokyo. It has many breeds of cat and a good location in Shinjuku. Our favourite thing about this café, is that it has a great variety of food, drinks and sweets to choose from. They even have a dining area with a glass window so you can still enjoy watching the cats.
The café is open from 10am to 10pm every day. The entrance fee is 1000yen for 60 minutes on weekdays and 1200yen on weekends and holidays. They also have special package prices, which you can choose here: http://www.catcafe.jp/shop_shinjyuku.html (in Japanese only)
The cafe with most “Ghibli-like” interior design
Known as “the cutest” and referred to as a “fairy-tale forest” like cat café, “Temari no uchi” is another very popular cat café in Tokyo. Located in Kichijoji, famous for being the best place to live in Tokyo, this café offers entry without a time-limit and a Studio Ghibli themed interior. Their menu of food is delicious and also creative. The entrance fee is 1200yen on weekdays, 1600yen on weekends and holidays, and 700yen after 7pm. The café is open 10am-9pm every day and is a 5 minute walk from Kichijoji station Central (or North) exit.
The cafe with most curious cats and most enthusiastic staff
Every cat café in Tokyo has its own gems and “Nyankoto” cat café in Takadanobaba impressed us with how full of energy and curiosity their cats were. They also have English speaking staff and there are 16 cats in Nyankoto, all with their own unique personality. They are playful and approach customers, unlike in other cafés where the cats are generally more shy. The cafe itself is not as big as the previous three mentioned above, but it’s quite cozy. The fee is 800yen for 1 hour which includes a free drink. If you happen to arrive during feeding time, you’ll see all the cats line up patiently waiting for their food. The café is a 5 minute walk from Takadanobaba station (Waseda exit on JR/Seibu lines /exit 6 of Tokyo metro). More information can be found here: http://www.nyankoto.com/about.html (only Japanese)
There are also many more cat cafes in Tokyo like Hapi-neko in Shibuya (http://hapineko.com/eigoindex.html), NekoNekoZa in Harajuku, which acts as a cat shelter and advertises itself as a café for cat lovers only (https://nekonekoza.tumblr.com/post/152072275905/info), and many others with different themes and concepts. There is a great variety you can choose from, so we recommend you take the opportunity whilst in Japan to visit a few different ones. You could even organise a cat café marathon for yourself to see how many you can find .