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Owl Cafes Are Tokyo’s Latest Craze

Tokyo, one of the world’s largest and most hi-tech metropolises, is known for having quirky hangouts, from love hotels, to hammock-themed restaurants to cat cafés, where people can enjoy feline company without the hassle of emptying the litter box. Now, the latest trend hitting Tokyo’s streets is the owl café, where patrons can have a warm cuppa while observing these majestic birds.

Called “fukurou cafes” in Japanese, these places offer owl-themed food and drink, and became popular last year since the opening of Fukurou no Mise (“Owl Shop”) and Tori no Iru Cafe (“The Cafe with Birds”). More have opened since then, including Fukurou Sabou (“Owl Teahouse”), Owl Family, and Crew.

Think owls should be left in the wild? Sign the petition to shut down Japanese owl cafes.

According to News.com.au, these cafés can have strict policies about handling the birds, though in same places, customers are allowed to have contact with them:

The complexity lies in the fact that humans and owls don’t generally hang out together – so it’s an unusual experience for both parties. Customers regularly have to line up at these owl cafes (too many people inside at one time will scare the owls) and once they are in there are a set of strict guidelines to follow, including rules like don’t touch the owls unless with a staff member, disinfect your hands before and after touching an owl, don’t use your camera flash and don’t talk loudly.

The popularity of these animal-themed cafés is no doubt fuelled by the fact that many Tokyo apartments forbid pets. The concept has caught on worldwide though, with cat cafés opening up recently in Spain, Germany, Hungary and Paris. (Owl cafés, though, seem like another ball game completely.)

Of course, there have been understandable concerns from animal rights advocates, who believe that these supervised, “pet-rental” businesses are detrimental to the animals. On the other hand, however, these establishments must obtain official permits, and follow strict regulations for animal welfare, with some cafés working with strays, and actively raising awareness about the proper treatment of animals.

Kotaku/via

In any case, it’s clear that the customers who do go to such places are seeking much-needed companionship, trying to reconnect with nature as best as they can, while living in one of the world’s busiest cities. Nevertheless, owls aren’t your typical domesticated animal — it’s probably better if they stayed in the wild. More over at PSFK and News.com.au.

Related
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Read more: Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Videos, Videos

by Kimberley Mok

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Kara, selected from TreeHugger

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

156 comments

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12:16PM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

signed, thanks for sharing :)

6:13AM PST on Dec 4, 2013

The owls looked bored and unhappy.

10:02PM PST on Nov 22, 2013

Concerns that pet cafes are detrimental ... no shit. Want to reconnect with nature ... get off your dead ass and take a walk in nature -- where they belong and deserve to live, just like we do.

Wonder if Jennifer B. would agree, as a member of the human species, that were she selected to live in the wild, away from all contact with everything she knows and relates to, she would still think it no big deal or that her natural right was being trampled upon.

11:50AM PST on Nov 14, 2013

Thanks Kara.

3:52PM PST on Nov 13, 2013

egad

1:34PM PST on Nov 13, 2013

Thanks

11:49AM PST on Nov 13, 2013

Interesting- whatever pleases a customer I guess.

8:41AM PST on Nov 13, 2013

thank you

8:38AM PST on Nov 13, 2013

thank you

10:41PM PST on Nov 12, 2013

I hate seeing and hearing this....signed for sure.......

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