Fukuro no Mori, Harajuku
Within the past few years, I’ve noticed that Japan has undergone an animal cafe boom, with cat, dog, rabbit, hamster, owl, and hedgehog cafes popping up throughout Tokyo. Last summer, I had the chance to visit an owl cafe for the first time (…well, sort of)! I should note that this isn’t actually a cafe, and is instead called an “Owl Forrest”. Fukuro no Mori is located in the heart of Harajuku right on the famous shopping strip, Takeshita Street. The forest is a type of walk through experience. The inside of the shop is filled with trees and a small path to walk though. After paying the $7 fee, participants can start on the trail.
When we went, there were various owls resting on trees along the way, so we were free to stop and pet the owls as we pleased. Most of the owls were incredibly well behaved or were sleeping. The owls had a chain on their leg, preventing them from moving or flying away from their branch, while some of the larger ones were in a caged off area on the ground instead. The course took about 10-15 minutes at most to walk through (the area is small, but there were a decent amount of owls). As there is only one path, we had to wait until the group in front of us moved before we could proceed though, so the timing was a little slow.
Overall, I would definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the area. It’s a nice change of pace and I found the cafe to be more relaxing than the other animal cafes I’ve been too (even if the experience is a little shorter). I should also note that this particular shop didn’t allow us to pick up the owls, but I’ve heard of an owl cafe in Shibuya where you can actually let the owl rest on your head or shoulders. Perhaps I’ll visit there another day though!