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.


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.

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Owl & Cat Are Best Friends (Video)

by Kimberley Mok


Jennifer B.
Jennifer B2 years ago

I am an animal lover & absolutely believe in their rights. Your assumption merely because I'm my questioning this is rather accusing & uncalled for. It's just that there are other perspectives to consider in what is best for an animal & animal kind & how best we can take care of them.

Jennifer B.
Jennifer B2 years ago

My concern is that when we destroy their natural environment, while also not evolving to provide a new home for these animals that involves meeting their needs AND, just as importantly; maintaining, or even creating, a connection between human & animal not otherwise encouraged, then we are not serving the animal at all. In fact we are dumping it back in nature & saying: survival of the fittest is best.

Christine Jones
Christine J2 years ago

Hmmm. I understand the urge to reconnect with nature, and owls are gorgeous and fascinating creatures, but it's been my experience that usually when people get involved with wild creatures, it's to the detriment of the animals.

Carrie-Anne Brown

signed, thanks for sharing :)

Klaus Peters
Klaus Peters4 years ago

The owls looked bored and unhappy.

Deborah W.
Deborah W4 years ago

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.

Robert O.
Robert O4 years ago

Thanks Kara.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson4 years ago


Borg Drone
Past Member 4 years ago


Bonnie M.
Bonnie M4 years ago

Interesting- whatever pleases a customer I guess.