Translated by Lester Somera
Perch An Owl On Your Shoulder At The Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe!
Written by 五月女菜穂
Akiba Fukurou was the second-most popular tourist spot in Japan according to TripAdvisor last year. Hang out with the owls at this reservation-only cafe to find out why.
The Super-Popular Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe
Located two minutes from JR Akihabara on foot, Akiba Fukurou is an intimate reservation-only animal cafe. Here, you can touch owls and take pictures with them at this comforting spot. On the TripAdvisor review site, it placed second on the list of most popular tourist spots in Japan for 2017, second only to Fushimi Inari in Kyoto. What's so captivating about this place?
When we visited, there was already a line out in front. On this day, more than half of the people in line were tourists.
What Should You Know Before Entry?
While you wait, read the shop’s rules and introductions to the owls you’ll be able to meet, as well as their habitats. Currently the displays are only written in Japanese and English, but Akiba Fukurou is in the process of setting up a Chinese version.
・Remove any watches and accessories beforehand.
・Taking pictures is OK, but filming movies and the use of flash photography, selfie sticks or tripods are all prohibited.
・Set your phone to silent, as it could startle the owls.
・No whistling, tongue clicking, yelling or overly sudden movements.
・No children under seven.
Pay 2000 yen per person and put your belongings in the designated area. After disinfecting your hands, the staff will give you a simple explanation. There are owls all over the interior, with a diverse range of sizes and personalities. When you find one that you like, tell the staff, and you can have an owl perch on your hand or shoulder, up to two times per person.
Putting an Owl on Your Shoulder
We took a fancy to Okra, the Western screech owl, who was small and comparatively quiet. The sight of Okra swiveling his neck was really cute. As an aside, the shop’s amusing introduction reads, “Okra plays the same role as Kusanagi in the idol group SMAP. He cares about his friends a lot, and everyone plucks at his coif under the pretense of ‘grooming’ him.”
Owls are moody animals. Sometimes, they will flap their wings when you have them perch on your shoulder or hand. When that happens, keep a firm hold on the leash and follow the staff’s instructions.
A Bonus Perk: Get a Picture with Your Owl!
At Akiba Fukurou, you can have your picture taken with your owl. The photo will be made into a laminated postcard for you, so you can have a wonderful keepsake of your time at the cafe. Though there is a one-hour time limit, we were able to fully enjoy playing with the owls. Be sure to plan a visit to Akiba Fukurou when you come to Akihabara.