It's a hoot hanging out with owls at this Tokyo cafe

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
54 PHOTOS
Owl Cafes + Cat Cafes (Animal Cafes in General)
See Gallery
It's a hoot hanging out with owls at this Tokyo cafe
This October 2014 photo shows an owl at Fukuro no Mise, which means Shop of Owls, in Tokyo. The cafe allows visitors to hold and interact with owls. It’s one of a number of cafes in Japan where you can spend time with animals ranging from rabbits to goats. (AP Photo/Linda Lombardi)
This October 2014 photo shows owls at Fukuro no Mise, which means Shop of Owls, in Tokyo. The cafe allows visitors to hold and interact with owls. It’s one of a number of cafes in Japan where you can spend time with animals ranging from rabbits to goats. (AP Photo/Linda Lombardi)
This October 2014 photo shows instructions for visitors covering the exterior of Fukuro no Mise, which means Shop of Owls, in Tokyo. The cafe allows visitors to hold and interact with owls. It’s one of a number of cafes in Japan where you can spend time with animals ranging from rabbits to goats. (AP Photo/Linda Lombardi)
This October 2014 photo shows an employee of Fukuro no Mise, which means Shop of Owls, in Tokyo, demonstrating the proper way to hold an owl. The cafe allows visitors to hold and interact with owls. It’s one of a number of cafes in Japan where you can spend time with animals ranging from rabbits to goats. (AP Photo/Linda Lombardi)
This October 2014 photo shows an owl perched on the arm of a visitor at Fukuro no Mise, which means Shop of Owls, in Tokyo. The cafe allows visitors to hold and interact with owls. It’s one of a number of cafes in Japan where you can spend time with animals ranging from rabbits to goats. (AP Photo/Linda Lombardi)
This October 2014 photo shows a cloth decorated with owls that was offered as a souvenir to guests at Fukuro no Mise, which means Shop of Owls, in Tokyo. The cafe allows visitors to hold and interact with owls. It’s one of a number of cafes in Japan where you can spend time with animals ranging from rabbits to goats. (AP Photo/Linda Lombardi)
This October 2014 photo shows a tray of beverages ready to be served to visitors at Fukuro no Mise, which means Shop of Owls, in Tokyo. Each cup is covered in plastic wrap with a hand-drawn owl. The cafe allows visitors to hold and interact with owls. It’s one of a number of cafes in Japan where you can spend time with animals ranging from rabbits to goats. (AP Photo/Linda Lombardi)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: Different species of owl and a falcon sit on display at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some live exotic animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: A woman takes a photo of the owls at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some live exotic animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: A falcon sits on display at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some live exotic animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: A falcon sits on display at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some live exotic animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: People take a photo of the owls at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some exotic live animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: An owl sits on a lady's arm at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some live exotic animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: A hornbill is seen at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some live exotic animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: An owl sits on a lady's arm at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some live exotic animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: Three different species of owls sit on display at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some live exotic animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: A Blue-and-Yellow Macaw waits to be petted at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some live exotic animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 23: Owner Ryusuke Akedo stands with his exotic birds at Tori-no Iru Cafe on February 23, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Located in Kiba, Tokyo, Tori-no Iru (Birds Cafe) is a cafe where people can get up close and interact with some exotic birds. Japan has an increasing number of pet cafes, where people can enjoy petting some live exotic animals while they eat and drink. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)
Staff play with cats during the kickstarter opening of the Catfe (Cat Cafe) in Chinatown, Los Angeles on October 2, 2014. The cafe which allows patrons to interact with a range of cats, hopes to open permanently in the city depending on the public reaction from the kickstarter event. Similar cafes which originated in Japan are open in New York and San Francisco. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
People play with cats during the kickstarter opening of the Catfe (Cat Cafe) in Chinatown, Los Angeles on October 2, 2014. The cafe which allows patrons to interact with a range of cats, hopes to open permanently in the city depending on the public reaction from the kickstarter event. Similar cafes which originated in Japan are open in New York and San Francisco. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Businessman Carlos Wong with his staff and Simone the cat during the kickstarter opening of the Catfe (Cat Cafe) in Chinatown, Los Angeles on October 2, 2014. The cafe which allows patrons to interact with a range of cats, hopes to open permanently in the city depending on the public reaction from the kickstarter event. Similar cafes which originated in Japan are open in New York and San Francisco. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors play with a cat at the pop-up 'Cat Cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors play with a cat at the pop-up 'Cat Cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A cat sits on a chair at the pop-up 'Cat cCafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors play with cats at the pop-up 'Cat cCafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
People look at a cat as they wait in line to enter the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A cat lounges under a chair at the pop-up 'Cat Cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A cat walks on a table at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A cat lounges at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor pets a cat at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors pet a cat at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor takes a picture of a cat while people line up to get in, at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Cats play and lounge at the pop-up 'Cat cafe' where patrons can interact and adopt cats in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Cats play and lounge at the pop-up 'Cat cafe' where patrons can interact and adopt cats in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor pets a cat the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor pets a cat at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A cat walks on a table at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor pets a cat at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor plays with a cat the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor pets a cat at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors plays with cats at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors pet a cat at the pop-up 'Cat cafe', a cafe where patrons can interact and adopt cats, in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Cats play and lounge at the pop-up 'Cat cafe' where patrons can interact and adopt cats in New York, April 25, 2014. Cat Cafe, a pop up cafe which opened for only four days until April 27, 2014, allows visitors to have a coffee and interact with 21 cats and adopt one if they want. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: A 'cat'achino' is seen at the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City. The cafe, which has been created Purina One cat food, serves complimentary coffee and bakery items, and has a variety cats roaming throughout the space that visitors can adopt. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: People hang out in the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City. The cafe, which has been created Purina One cat food, serves complimentary coffee and bakery items, and has a variety cats roaming throughout the space that visitors can adopt. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: A cat wanders through the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City. The cafe, which has been created Purina One cat food, serves complimentary coffee and bakery items, and has a variety cats roaming throughout the space that visitors can adopt. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: A cat sits in the window of the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City. The cafe, which has been created Purina One cat food, serves complimentary coffee and bakery items, and has a variety cats roaming throughout the space that visitors can adopt. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: A cat naps in the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City. The cafe, which has been created Purina One cat food, serves complimentary coffee and bakery items, and has a variety cats roaming throughout the space that visitors can adopt. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: A person pets a cat in the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' as others wait in line on April 24, 2014 in New York City. The cafe, which has been created Purina One cat food, serves complimentary coffee and bakery items, and has a variety cats roaming throughout the space that visitors can adopt. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: A barista makes a 'cat'achino' at the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City. The cafe, which has been created Purina One cat food, serves complimentary coffee and bakery items, and has a variety cats roaming throughout the space that visitors can adopt. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: A person pets a cat in the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City. The cafe, which has been created Purina One cat food, serves complimentary coffee and bakery items, and has a variety cats roaming throughout the space that visitors can adopt. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: A cat watches a toy in the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City. The cafe, which has been created Purina One cat food, serves complimentary coffee and bakery items, and has a variety cats roaming throughout the space that visitors can adopt. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Jennifer Powers pets a cat in the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City. The cafe, which has been created Purina One cat food, serves complimentary coffee and bakery items, and has a variety cats roaming throughout the space that visitors can adopt. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


TOKYO (AP) - In the U.S., hanging out in a cafe with animals is such an exotic concept that people can't get enough of it. A pop-up cat cafe in New York last year had lines down the block. Online reservations for another Manhattan cat cafe are almost fully booked more than two months ahead.

But in Japan, cat cafes are just the start. You can hang out in rabbit cafes or have coffee in Tokyo with two goats. And you're not limited to domestic animals. You can also spend an hour at a cafe holding a great horned owl.

Judging by how complicated it was to get a reservation at Tokyo's Fukuro no Mise ("Shop of Owls,"), the owl cafes there are just as much of a hoot there as cat cafes are here.

To get a spot, visitors are supposed to line up an hour before Fukuro no Mise opens. But when I showed up an hour early, I was lucky to get the last seat for a session two hours later. There are no refunds on the 2000 yen ($17) fee. If you're late, you lose your slot.

Inside, I was given a list of detailed English instructions. For example, only touch the owls on the head or back. And while the owls are very tame, "they can't be potty trained like dogs. So please be generous when they potty on you!" The woman in charge also gave a long talk and demonstration in Japanese before allowing each guest to hold a bird.

The owls come in various sizes and species, from tiny to quite large, including a great horned owl with large sharp claws and impressive beak. Each bird has a tether around one foot, which you hold in your hand as they perch on your arm. Sleek and clear-eyed, the owls seem calm despite the fact that the small room is crowded.

The attentive staff will place the owl on your shoulder or head if you like (I declined in light of the warning about the lack of potty-training). Staff can also help if your owl starts to flap. Raising your hand in the air usually settles them down, but apparently I was holding my arm wrong, so a worker repositioned it. If you've had enough and want to just watch everyone else's owls, they'll relieve you of the bird.

Photography is forbidden in some of the oddest places in Japan, but this isn't one of them. No flash is allowed (and no video) but posting a shot of yourself on social media holding an owl is clearly a goal for many visitors.

Unlike some other animal cafes in Japan, this place is only nominally a cafe. There's no food but a small drink is included (alcohol costs extra). The drink arrives covered in plastic wrap, decorated with a magic marker illustration of an owl. But no one pays attention to their beverage until the final activity, which involves distributing souvenirs. Each item is held up and guests raise their hand if they want it. If too many people raise hands, winners are chosen by playing rock-paper-scissors, which seems to be the same in Japan as it is in the U.S. Souvenirs included a photo book, cell phone charms, chopsticks and a cloth decorated with owls.

If owls aren't enough to satisfy your longing to commune with birds of prey, there's also a Falconers Cafe in Mitaka, the same area of Tokyo as the Ghibli Museum. When it's not busy, the only birds there will be the owner's, four Harris hawks and a peregrine falcon that can't be petted, only watched. But hawk owners also come to the shop with their birds, and some may allow you to touch them. This one's a proper cafe, with dishes on an English menu named after raptors, including Harris Curry and Eagle Ginger pork.

There are other owl cafes in Japan. All have different hours and procedures, so it's best to have a Japanese speaker help navigate websites and make calls. Fukuro no Mise also had limited and somewhat erratic hours, so you'll want to check its website - also in Japanese - for current information: http://profile.ameba.jp/fukurounomise/ .

And while the cafe is off the beaten tourist path, it's easy to find from exit 10 of Tokyo Metro Tsukishima Station - just cross and head up the street lined with oddly pruned trees and you'll see its storefront on the right, covered with posters in Japanese and English explaining the reservation system. Once you have your reservation, if there's time, you can head up to the next cross street and stroll an old shopping street with lots of monjayaki restaurants. Monja is the Tokyo version of okonomiyaki, the meat, seafood and vegetable pancake that's cooked on a griddle on your table.

The cafe suggests English speakers come on Fridays when they have English-speaking staff, but I had no difficulty on a different day.

Japenese Owl Cafe

More From AOL:
Pacific Crest Trail expects more hikers thanks to 'Wild'
Killer plants are actually much smarter than we think
Study finds the most expensive state to be a smoker
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners