Tokyo, Japan, known for its cutting edge reputation is rocking the café scene with the “owl café” in Akiba, Fukurou, the latest addition to animal cafes such as the cat café which also originated in Tokyo and has spread the world.
Down a street in the Akibahara district, you can find Akiba Fukurou, an owl café which is home to around 25 owls of diverse sizes and breeds, welcoming visitors as they step inside. Once you enter the solemn room, you can get a glimpse of the well-behaved and adorable owls perched on bars throughout the room. Each owl was given a name according to its personality. Visitors are welcomed by some sweet and small owls and also some others which are bigger in size looking at you with those evil-looking, vibrant eyes as if guarding their surroundings.
Shusaku Yasu, an owl enthusiast is the brainchild behind Akiba Fukurou which has a line of animal cafes spreading around Tokyo, firstly was the cat café, then rabbits, and reptile cafes. The café gives customers the chance to “interact” with the Akiba owls for a fee of 1500 Yen ($12) and can get their photos taken with the owls.
Their loyal customers can choose an owl and then sit at one of the tables to spend some time patting and stroking its soft, cottony feathers. The owners of the Owl Café say it’s all about relaxation and de-stressing from busy and hectic lives and is a different form of escape. They believe that owls can heal tired hearts like a therapy which can be called, “healing entertainment”.
The café was designed with soft lighting and draperies on the walls combined with soothing music being played at the background amidst the blaring sounds and bustling noise of people and vehicles outside. One of the visitors who dropped by the café was Marta Kaczan, a Polish finance worker visiting from London and made it a mission to visit animal cafes as part of her trip.
Yasu stated that it’s not just the novelty which lures people to visit the owl café but also because of the set up or ambiance.
A reminder for those who are planning to visit the Owl Café: bring your own coffee for contrary to its name having “café”, they offer no latte although there is bottled water available since the customers would rather spend quality time with their feathered friends than drinking.
You can see varied breeds of owls in the café like a pygmy owl named Shrimp, who is the latest addition to the group. Charles Xavier, another adorable breed is a black banded owl who looks at you with those black piercing eyes as if entering deep into your soul. There are also others in the flock by the names of Sweet Potato, Gorilla, Snowman, Kabuki, and Mr. Satoshi.