Translated by Sandy Lau
Asakusa Nekoen – Fall In Love With Adorable Cats At An Adoption Cafe!
Written by Kogetsu
There are thousands of adorable cats at the cat cafes in Japan! This time, we’ll be introducing Asakusa Nekoen, a cafe that keeps rescue cats until they find a home. Let’s meet these sweet cats who are biding their time as they await their future family!
Let’s Go to a Japanese Cat Cafe!
Cat cafes with adorable pedigree cats can be found all around Japan. There are also people who hope to play with these cats when visiting here.
However, the cafe we’ll be introducing this time is an unconventional cat cafe! That’s because Cat Cafe Asakusa Nekoen (Asakusa Nekoen), just a ten-minute walk from popular sightseeing areas around Asakusa Station, is a cat cafe that humanely brings together cats searching for a home.
What is Asakusa Nekoen?
Usually, purebred cats with healthy coats and striking features come to mind when you think of felines at cat cafes. However, not every cat in the world is this fortunate. Even Japan is no exception to having unfortunate cats become abandoned by their owners.
Some of these abandoned felines end up living on the streets and become taken care of by locals as street cats. Others are rescued by facilities or volunteers in hopes of finding them a new family.
Asakusa Nekoen is a refuge for cats with less-than-fortunate circumstances!
Asakusa Nekoen is on the sixth floor of what appears to be a normal multi-tenant building.
Before you enter the cafe, take off your coat if you’re wearing one and leave your footwear in the shoe cupboard. There is a rule to wear socks at all times inside the cafe. They also sell socks for 150 yen, so please let the staff know if you didn't bring socks.
You can leave your bags or belongings in the cafe's care, so feel free to play with the kitties without worry. Upon entering the cafe, there will be alcohol-based disinfectant on your righthand side. Don’t forget to clean your hands for both your own sake and the cats as well.
It costs 800 yen (700 yen for junior high school students and under) for the first hour, then 200 yen for every additional 30 minutes. If you prefer to stay longer, then there is also a special rate plan on the weekdays that costs 1,500 yen for 4.5 hours. Be sure to pay the fee upon leaving the cafe.
*Children under the age of three cannot enter the cafe.
Now, Let's Get to the Adorable Cats!
It’s time to finally meet the cats you’ve been waiting for! Between 10 to 20 cats will lovingly greet you at the door!
As mentioned above, all the cats here are rescues. While they are also all mixed breeds (not purebreds), they’re soft to the touch and sweet-natured!
There are cats that have lived in the cafe for many years and have become mascots. On the other hand, there are also cats that are searching for a home. If you find a cat that you want to adopt, then you can inquire with the cafe about the cat as soon as you’re ready to adopt it.
The cafe is also full of books on cats and cat toys. Bottled drinks, beverages with low alcohol content, and snacks such as cookies or rice crackers are also sold so you can leisurely relax here (please do not give the cats any snacks meant for humans).
A Cafe Conceived out of Love for Cats
Asakusa Nekoen was created out of a wonderful resolve from the director, who is also the owner.
The director, who loves cats herself, had thought of opening a cat cafe but “disliked the thought of being involved in the ‘pet business’ that treated cats as business tools.”
She then told us, “I decided to open a cat cafe for rescue cats, who are just as cute as pedigree cats, to save small lives that are facing difficult circumstances.”
Every cat at the cafe is adorable and sweet-natured. There were even some cats that immediately coiled around us.
There are many international tourists that visit the cafe to meet these adorable cats. The fact that they welcome overseas customers is another great feature of this cafe.
Not only has the cafe been recognized in 2015 on Trip Advisor as a facility with excellent hospitality, but it has also been introduced on international television programs. Additionally, the director is very proficient in English!
Director’s Tip! The Trick to Being Liked by Cats
Since you've headed out to a cat cafe, you'll want to get along with as many of the cats as you can. We had the director teach us the tricks to getting along with these furry friends.
Sit and Simply Wait
There are some cats that love snuggling up to people and sitting on their laps. However, those cats can’t do anything if we wander back and forth in the cafe.
The manager told us, “Please sit on the sofa and play with cats nearby. Another cat might even come sit on your lap.” When we sat and simply waited, a cat immediately did come to sit on our lap!
Your Trump Card! Cat Treats
Cat treats are your trump card at cat cafes. The price for treats is only 150 yen. Even cats won’t be able to resist these tasty snacks!
We placed the treat in our hand and were immediately swarmed by kitties! What a moment of pure joy!
First, please place a small amount on top of your hand to feed to the cats. Afterward, set the remainder on a plate in a slightly higher spot and wait. The cats will definitely come swarming around the plate.
Ask the Director Questions
“Each cat here has their own personalities,” the director told us. “There are also some cats that come from hard experiences and don’t easily warm up to people. I ask that you do not forcefully touch a cat that doesn’t want to be touched.”
If you have questions about a cat you’re curious about, like the kind of personality they have or where they prefer to be petted, then feel free to ask the director!
There are several things to note when it comes to appreciating these cats.
These include not taking photos with flash, restraining from hugging the cats, and not grabbing them by the nape of their neck. There aren’t that many strict rules. The cafe also has Wi-Fi so that you can immediately post the photos you’ve taken onto your social media account.
The director’s request to everyone is merely a hope that you treat the cats as kindly and gently as your own children.
Access to Asakusa Nekoen
You can reach Asakusa Nekoen from Asakusa Station on the Tobu Skytree Line, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, and the Toei Asakusa Line.
The cafe is located behind Sensoji Temple on the righthand side just across the intersection.
Once you’ve exited either the Ginza Line on the subway or the Tobu Line at Asakusa Station, walk on the road next to EKIMISE Asakusa, a shopping complex. You’ll arrive shortly once you see the intersection heading to the bridge over Sumida River.
If you’re visiting here after sightseeing at Sensoji Temple, please go to your right on the street behind the temple. Then walk until you reach an intersection.
You’ll see a gray building with “CAT CAFE” written on the sixth-floor window pane.
It may resemble a normal building, but there will be a directory in front of the elevator. Take the elevator to the sixth floor.
You'll have arrived once the elevator doors open. Since the cat cafe is the only tenant on this floor, you won’t have to worry about getting lost.
If you’re a cat lover visiting Asakusa, please visit the cozy Asakusa Nekoen to feel relaxed and at ease with the cuteness of Japanese cats!
In cooperation with Asakusa Nekoen