Capture Tokyo: Kawaii Monster Cafe

Kawaii Monster Cafe, Harajuku

The colorful and crazy Kawaii Monster Cafe really embodies that special “kawaii” street fashion uniqueness only found in Harajuku. Based on the Harajuku cute boom that exploded in the 2000s, the cafe is filled with bright colors and wacky designs. The Monster Cafe is split into four main areas from which diners can choose to be seated at: Mel-Tea Room, Mushroom Disco, Milk Stand, and Bar Expert. We chose the Mushroom Disco, which features huge rainbow mushroom shaped umbrellas. One of the cafe’s unique features is that their “Monster Girls” that walk around the room as customers eat. These “Monster Girls” are decked out in colorful over the top clothes and wigs! They wave at customers and are generally very friendly and polite, posing for pictures with the guests. There are 5 monster girls in total. The one you see pictured above is called “Candy”. I believe the other four are Baby, Nasty, Dolly, and Crazy. They even have a dance performance you can watch.

The cafe’s food and drinks are all also rainbow themed. Their most notable dish is the signature rainbow pasta and rainbow cake (I personally didn’t have the guts to order any, and went with a rather plain order of chicken and waffles instead, haha)! I did have a glass of their “Nondrug Cocktail” though, which came with a vile of blue and red liquid to pour into drink. The fruity drink was quite tasty and fun to mix! I would recommend checking this cafe out, if you are looking for a taste of the wonderfully weird and wacky side of Harajuku. It’s certainly a once in a lifetime experience!

Capture Tokyo: Owl Forest

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!

Capture Tokyo: Cat Cafe

Nekobukuro, Ikebukuro

I finally had the opportunity to visit a cat cafe the other day! I normally consider myself more of a dog lover, but my friend convinced me and I must say, the cats were pretty adorable! Although there was no cafe aspect (it was more of a cat petting zoo), there were chairs for us to sit and about 10 or so cats walking freely around the area. It only costs 600yen and there is no limit on the time you can stay. I will say that the people to cat ratio was quite high though, so there were around 2-5 people on average surrounding each cat. It seems the poor cats couldn’t catch a break, so many of them seemed a little grumpy… especially the ones that were smothered by the young children running around. In any case, it was a fun experience, albeit it left me feeling a little sad for the tired kitties!