Japan's Owl Cafe Trend

Akihabara is filled with goods and services that deal with Japanese manga and its pop culture of comic books, anime figures, anime fashion, idols and etc; yet aside from the Japanese manga/music community, there is a calming place away from the busy streets of Akihabara, known as animal cafes that have been trending in this decennium. 

Below is a video of some tourists visiting an owl cafe located in Osaka.

Animal cafes range from reptiles, cats to rabbit cafes, but there is a particularly unique pet cafe known as the owl cafe in Akihabara (Tokyo), called the The Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe. This cafe is located roughly 5 minutes away in walking distance from the Akihabara Station (a transit stop).

A close picture of a cute and gentle owl with marble eyes. Photo by Flickr@Tim Brennan

A close picture of a cute and gentle owl with marble eyes. Photo by Flickr@Tim Brennan

In the owl cafe, owls show their interests towards the attendees by the owls natural soft glances towards the valued visitors, and many say it's very relaxing to interact with the owls in a therapeutic kind of approach.  

With a total of around 25 well-behaved different owls, these owls vary from different size and breed. 

Reservations at the Tokyo Owl Cafe fully booked on this particular day. Photo by Flickr@John Gillespie

Reservations at the Tokyo Owl Cafe fully booked on this particular day. Photo by Flickr@John Gillespie

The stationary etiquette owls makes the total space of around 400 square feet sized Akibahara Fukurou cafe a very pleasant and spacious enough environment for the visitors and their owl companions. Although I heard that these places can get crowded due to its popularity, one can possibly make reservations for a certain owl cafe in Akihabara ahead of time by gaining support from this link below: 

https://www.viator.com/tours/Tokyo/Owl-Cafe-Experience-in-Akihabara/d334-23033P1

Information surrounding the owl caretaker/proprietor at Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe:

The one who takes care of the owls there is the owl proprietor and his name is Shinsaku Yabe. Mr. Yabe says that owls are more than a pet; they are more like a friend or a person to him. The owl caretaker shares from his experience by speaking that each individual owl has their own unique characteristics. He goes on revealing that when a person sees the picture of the owls or read about them, they to not see its personality for themselves. He advises that people may visit his owls at the cafe if they would like to visit. Mr. Yabe would be very pleased.

The owl cafe caretaker mentions, "It's all about feeling." Getting to know the owls allows Shinsaku Yabe to name the delicate feathery creatures in accordance to each and individual owl. For example, a frosty-snowman looking owl with the mixed colors of tree bark and snow was named "Snowman." 

An image of the barn-owl turning its head.  Photo by Flickr@Tim Brennan

An image of the barn-owl turning its head.  Photo by Flickr@Tim Brennan

The experience with these owls can become mentally soothing and better yet it can heal your spirit. The calming euphoria that one may undergo during this experience is possibly one of the reasons why people re-visit the owl cafe. 

Quan Mckirly, author of a CNN article about the Akibahara owl cafe, writes about how one customer revisits the cafe because it is very rare to see the owls, and how civil these hoofs can be.

One would not see an owl in the town of Akihabara, but when a person enters the Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe, you would see an abundance amount of owls at a single cafe, and that experience itself is very unique. Some people have visited the owl cafe 60-70 times. According to Mr. Mckirly, there has not been any recorded instances where a customer mentions the well known famous movie line, "Owl be back" even with many visits the cafe has received. The line is influenced from the movie Terminator and it's famous monologue of, "I'll be back."

Visitors come back to visit the cafe not just for the owl's rarity. The customers perhaps gets the euphoric effects from the pleasant atmosphere the owls provide; similar to when a person who enjoys nature visits the quiet green grasslands of the prairie. 

On the website, Time Travel Turtle, it mentions that the price of the Akibahara owl cafe is 1500 yen per hour (around $14.50) with its method of payment being a cash only transaction. 

People are able to interact with the owls with the quality time and extent by siting at one of the prepared tables, allowing oneself to a sound experience of petting the complexly designed soft soothing feathers as the owls may call upon its client with a soft murmur. 

Picture of eager and friendly southern white-faced owls. Photo by Flickr@Yuki Hirano 

Picture of eager and friendly southern white-faced owls. Photo by Flickr@Yuki Hirano 

Picture taking, Feeding and small advice for Owl Cafe attenders:

Towards the end of the session, the owl cafe personnel can take some pictures of the clients and their friendly owl companion(s) as the customers wish. 

Also, there is no need for the owls to eat food which is intended for the customer because food for owls such as frozen mice can be obtained at the cafe.

The Akibahara owl cafe puts its efforts mainly with its owl related services compared to the services of cafe & coffee; therefore, it can be a good idea to bring coffee or even snacks of your own in unison with the cafe's rules and regulations. 

An elegant owl on top of a beautiful lady. Photo by Flickr@TheMarcusChance

An elegant owl on top of a beautiful lady. Photo by Flickr@TheMarcusChance

How might the cafe owls feel about the situation that they are in:

Customer visitors may be sympathetic towards the owl's state of mind and perhaps wonder, "Shouldn't these owls deserve more freedom?" 

To a certain relief, from information I have gained from the web of the owl cafe sources listed below, are that the owls at the Akibahara Fukurou Cafe are treated with loving care and kindness. Mr. Yabe takes the owls home every night for dinner meals of mouses. The CNN article by Mckirly, contemplates whether Mr. Yabe gets any sleep at all because owls are nocturnal creatures who naturally do not sleep in the night. 

Owls looking sleepy in the owl cafe. Photo by Flickr@Toukou Sousui 淙穂鶫箜

Owls looking sleepy in the owl cafe. Photo by Flickr@Toukou Sousui 淙穂鶫箜

The Origin of the Owls at the Cafe:

The owls are from a breeder of Mr. Yabe's trusted friend and are mostly from Europe. The owls that reside at Mr. Yabe's cafe work place are used to human interaction and care from a young age. The Owls are cross bred with native owls in Japan, so the owls at the cafe vary in breed. 

Subtly calming to observe and spend quality time along with their cute oval physique and seemingly very soothing feathery touch, it is not a surprise why so many are fond to spend time with the well-behaved, respect-deserving puffers.  

Although this article itself is generally based on a particular owl cafe, one has many options of owl cafes to attend to each slightly and greatly different in there own way I presume, just as the owls themselves. 

 Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe Address:

67 Kanda Neribeichō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to, 101-0022, Japan

Open hours:

11:00am until 6:00pm or 8:00pm

Price:

1500 yen (roughly $14.50) per hour and limited to one reservation of a hour. 

How to get there:

Get oneself at the Akihabara Station, from there you would walk for 5 minutes towards the north-east direction where the cafe is located in 67 Kanda Neribeicho. The Fukuro Cafe is on the ground floor at the quiet street area of the town. This cafe has pictures of owls to make the cafe easier to find. 

Source: 

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/09/travel/tokyo-akiba-fukuro-owl-cafe/

http://www.timetravelturtle.com/2015/02/tokyo-owl-cafe-akiba-fukurou/