The popularity of Cat Cafes in Tokyo, Japan exploded in the early 2000’s due to tight living spaces and a love for all things Kwaii (cute or adorable). Cat Cafes offer a respite from the sensory overload that is Tokyo by allowing patrons to cozy up to their feline friends while enjoying a hot cup of tea, coffee or even an ice cold beer.
As someone who grew up with cats, I am perpetually trying to convince my better half that getting a cat is a good idea (because it is) and that I have a cat shape void in my heart (ok, that’s a little dramatic) . So during my recent visit to Tokyo, I made it a priority to a visit a Cat Cafe. And while I can’t say that the Cat Cafes filled my void, I can say that the soft lighting, cozy seating, and snoozing, purring, kitties provided a welcome relief from the sea of people for this introvert.
If you are unsure of what to expect when visiting a cat cafe in Tokyo, Japan, read these 10 helpful tips to for visiting a cat cafe in Tokyo, Japan!
Tips for visiting a cat cafe in Tokyo, Japan
• You pay based on how long you stay •
Both cafes I visited had a flat rate for the first hour regardless of if you spent the whole hour. After the first hour it switched to 10 minute increments. So if you stay for an hour and 7 minutes, you pay for an hour and 10 minutes. If you stay for 30 minutes you pay for 1 hour.
• Find out what is included in admission •
Some cafes include a beverage in the hourly rate others do not. They will tell you when you pay what is and isn’t included. If they don’t you should ask.
• Follow the rules of the cafe •
These usually include tips on how you can best interact with cats as well as notifies you of any cats with dietary or physical restrictions.
• Take your shoes off •
Either lock them up in a locker or place them in a cubby, the cafe will provide slippers for you to wear while among the cats. It’s helpful to have clean socks (read not stinky) anywhere in Tokyo.
• Keep your hands clean •
Thoroughly wash and sanitize your hands before and after interacting with any cats.
• Treat the kitties with treats •
Buy cat food if it’s not included in your admission to entice those kitties to come to you. The downside is, in places you have to buy food, it seems like the cats will only interact with you if you have food.
• Don’t be afraid to ask questions •
Ask an employee if they have any tips on the cat’s favorite toys or favorite places to be pet. Always start by saying Sumimasen ( it means excuse me or thank you) and follow up with arigatou gozaimasu (thank you).
• Leave the slippers outside the bathroom •
If you use the restroom leave your slippers outside the bathroom, there will be bathroom slippers inside the bathroom you can put on. This helps keep the cafe area, where cats and humans sit and lay, clean. Be sure to switch back to your slippers and re-sanitize your hands before returning to the cats.
• Don’t pick up the cats •
Please do not pick up the cats or attempt to hold them. It’s ok to pet them or let them jump in your lap, but could you imagine if tens to hundreds of people tried to pick you up everyday? Not fun at all.
• Sit back, relax and enjoy your time •
Find a cat that wants to play or be pet and soak in the experience.
Have you been to a cat cafe? If you have any tips for visiting a cat cafe, share them in the comments!
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