On this rainy Sunday we decided to find something fun to do indoors. Why not an owl cafe? We had been to a cat cafe when we visited Japan back in 2012 but only recently heard about the owl version.
It works much the same way. You go in-person to make an appointment - we got an appointment for 2.5 hours later. This cafe, Owl Forest, was located in Akihabara, which was great because we had a lot to do in the area while we waited.
We paid 600 yen to enter and another 200 yen for our mandatory drink (it's a cafe, after all) for an hour of play time with the owls. Total = only $8 each! Then we got some hand sanitizer, a tutorial on how to pet the birds properly, and were led into the "forest".
The room was filled with champagne bottles, a big screen showing "Totoro", and several aquarium tanks.
There were about 15 owls and 15 guests so the ratio was great. You could walk around and pet them at your leisure. If you wanted to hold one on your arm then all you had to do was ask and a staff member would bring him/her over. They looked a little bit scary and I was hesitant at first...
But soon I realized how sweet they were! They have the funniest head bobs and really seemed to enjoy the petting.
Look at this little guy!
I was so busy paying attention to our friends at eye-level that I completely missed the giant barn owls at our feet! They were also very friendly, although a little intimidating.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience but feel a little bit badly for these birds. Being surrounded by neon lights, fish tanks, and tons of visitors can't be that great. On the other hand, they are so calm and friendly that it seems like they aren't UNHAPPY, either... The jury is still out on this one.