Written by Chiara Mischke
Cat Café Neco Republic In Ikebukuro - Relax With Shelter Cats
Neco Republic is a special kind of cat cafe where you can cuddle and play with shelter cats. Whether you're thinking about adopting a cat or just want to enjoy the "purrfect company" of feline friends, Neco Republic is a great destination.
If you walk through any big city in Japan, you will surely encounter cat cafes. The busy lifestyle and the majority of Japanese apartments not allowing pets are the two main reasons why many people search for other ways to share some precious time with these soft pawed little creatures, without the commitment of owning them.
Cat cafes are very famous in Japan and their popularity with visitors to Japan has increased in the last couple of years.
But even though many travelers might be interested in visiting a cat cafe, some might be concerned about what kind of business they invest into if they visit such a cafe. Are the cats treated well? Are they happy? What happens to the cats when they get older?
Neco Republic is a shelter cat cafe you can truly feel good about visiting.
The Background of Neco Republic
Pet shelters are not widely known in Japan and many people will choose the pet shop to adopt while many shelter cats are waiting for the chance to get a home or even just someone to pet them every once in a while.
Experiencing this problem on a daily basis, a passionate shelter volunteer had the very inspired idea of making the cat shelter more accessible by combining it with the ever so popular cat cafe.
Neco Republic opened their first cat cafe in Gifu in 2014. Since then, it has expanded to a total of seven cat cafes located in various areas of Japan: the original one in Gifu, one in Osaka, one in Aichi, three in Tokyo and their newest addition in Hiroshima.
They even own a whole cat building in Osaka, the NEKOBIRU, which translates to “Cat Building” in English.
Their goal is to create the perfect place for shelter cats to get some love while increasing the chances for them to find a home in the same relaxing atmosphere as any other great cat cafe.
Neco Republic Ikebukuro - A Fun Cat Shelter Cafe in Tokyo
Their newest cafe in Tokyo is located in Ikebukuro and opened its doors last year. Although the staff here might not speak English, they will show you a timetable for you to pick the amount of time you want to spend with the cats and you can simply point at it.
After you select the time, you will be given a small bag where you should insert everything you want to take inside the main room.
Take off your shoes, store away your bags, wash your hands and let them disinfect your hands and socks. Please note that you can only enter with socks. You are able to purchase socks at the counter if you came without. Lastly, put on a pair of slippers and enter the cat room.
Enjoy Your Time with the Cats! The Unique Atmosphere of Neco Republic
In comparison to many other cat cafes, nothing feels staged at Neco Republic. In a homely atmosphere, the customer can experience the fun of living with cats.
Most of the Neco Republic cafes are created to look like living rooms and every daily task is performed in front of the customer. From feeding time and weighing to giving medicine to the ailing cats, everything is done in the main room.
Every cat you see is up for adoption, so if you live in Japan and are interested in getting a cat you might want to consider visiting a Neco Republic café near you. But even if you are just visiting Japan and wish to experience a cat cafe, Neco Republic is a great option because you can be sure that your money will contribute to the welfare of animals in need.
Another difference between Neco Republic and other cat cafes is that this facility doesn't pick the cats by their appearance. The only conditions for their recruitment are that they are friendly and adoptable.
You will find one eyed and senior cats alongside gorgeous long haired cats as well as 1-year-old kittens.
Neco Republic’s oldest resident was a 15-year-old Persian named Yukinojo. He was a resident at Neco Republic in Ochanomizu (Tokyo) until he got adopted last year. He probably had lived out his days in a shelter if it wasn’t for Neco Republic.
You can read his heartwarming story here: Yukinojo (Japanese).
Neco Republic Ikebukuro has a lovely one-eyed cat named Tomo that follows people around and seems grateful for every bit of love she can get.
Since all of their cafes have a high adoption rate, you might not be able to encounter the cat you were hoping for, but all the other furry residents will most surely make up for it!
If you are interested learn more of their stories, you can look into their photo books which feature the cats that where successfully adopted.
Cat-Themed Goods Available as Souvenirs
If you can read Japanese you can purchase their monthly newsletter called Neco Repaper (100 yen), which includes articles about their activities and successful adoption stories.
Like every other cat café, they have various cat related goods which you can purchase as souvenirs. Some of these goods even feature pictures of the cats that are, or used to be, residents of the cafe.
From stationery to kitchenware, you can find here lovely items with cute cat designs which will be wonderful reminders of the precious time you spent here with the cats.
If you would like to enjoy the cat café experience and also want to do some good at the same time, then I highly recommend visiting one of the branches of Neco Republic.
|Address||Tokyo, Toshima ward, Nishi-Ikebukuro 3-27-3, Nakane Building 4th floor|
|Business Time||11:00 - 22:00|
|Required Time||at least 1 hour|
|Accepted Credit Cards||Not Available|
|Nearest station||Ikebukuro Station|
|Access||Ikebukuro Station (5 min walk from west exit)|
|Price||Weekday: 30 min 1100 yen, 60 min 1500 yen, 120 min 2400 yen + 500 yen for every 30 min extension Weekend: 30 min 1300 yen, 60 min 1700 yen + 500 yen for every 30 min extension All prices excluding TAX but include 1 Soft Drink|
|Website||Neco Republic (Japanese)|