Cat Cafe Time at Hapi Neko, Shibuya
I love cats. I recent acquired two adorable kittens (one Persian, one Himalayan), but since they are back in Berkeley while I am in Tokyo for the summer, I’ve been experiencing some definite cat withdrawals. Luckily, Tokyo is home to a number of cat cafes, which are perfect for people like me who just can’t have pets at home but really just want to be in the vicinity of these cute creatures for a little while. Anyway, for my very first cat cafe, I chose Hapi Neko (“Happy Cat”) near my old apartment in Dogenzaka, Shibuya.
Hapi Neko is a cute little cafe that overlooks Shibuya’s bustling streets yet manages to be very quiet and peaceful. It’s bright and cheerful with several little couches and chairs where patrons can sit and enjoy a drink and some little cookies while enjoying their feline companions. Admission to Hapi Neko was 1,080 yen (about US $10) for 30 minutes, which included one drink and a couple of little snacks. We could have paid a little extra for a toy to amuse the cats with, but we decided to keep it simple.
I was really impressed with the entry procedure for the cafe. Patrons were greeted at the door and asked to read a set of rules regarding the cats. You’re not allowed to pick them up from a standing position or while sitting on the furniture; if you want to handle them, you have to sit on the floor so as not to disturb them. You’re not allowed to enter if you’re heavily drunk, wearing extremely fragrant perfume, or have been to a different cat cafe immediately prior (since you might spread infections between cats from different cafes). You have to take off your shoes before entering the cafe and put on slippers, and you also have to put everything except your camera and phone in a bag. After that, you wash your hands, dry them, then use an alcohol-based sanitizer to further disinfect yourself before touching the precious kitties. I thought that all of these precautions were great–I kind of want to institute my own procedures for people who want to visit my cats!
Anyway, the cats here actually seemed very happy and very well cared for. A couple of them were asleep the entire time we were there; others enjoyed walking around and making themselves at home in a variety of little hidey holes that were scattered around the cafe. The cats weren’t overly friendly, but they also weren’t unfriendly or scared of the patrons. It looked like there was a little passageway that allowed the cats to go into a room next door, presumably to use the bathroom or to escape if they were feeling over-stimulated.
The cats came in a variety of breeds and colors. My favorite one was this little silver-shaded Persian, Purin-hime (“Princess Pudding”?). She was a bit shy, but very sweet and extremely soft. As I mentioned before, my two kittens are Persians, so she reminded me strongly of them. I’ve also always been a fan of the silver-shaded coloring–it’s so beautiful! If you visit Hapi Neko’s website, they actually post little tidbits about the cats and their adventures. Click here to read more about Purin-hime.
My companion, on the other hand, spent most of our time trying to befriend Maron, a cute little American shorthair. Maron was pretty determined to interact with us from the safety of a good hiding place though.
But then again, what’s better than a good hiding place? Miruku seems to agree.
Anyway, we gradually worked our way around the various little cubbyholes and their inhabitants over the course of our 30-minute stay. The cafe wasn’t overly crowded, which kept things nice and quiet and allowed everyone to enjoy the cats without much competition.
This cat, Komomo, had a lot of personality. He was the only one really running around the place, hamming it up. I love the little cat trees and beds in this place–I kind of want to ask where they got them so that I can get something similar for my kittens!
All in all, it was a very satisfying excursion. If any of you are looking to try out a cat cafe in Tokyo, Hapi Neko would seem to be a nice choice. I’m planning on visiting a few more over the course of the summer, so I’ll keep you updated!
For more information about Hapi Neko, please see visit their website (in Japanese only).
Have you been to a cat cafe? Would you like to visit one? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!