All About Cat Cafes in Japan

Tako
2022/10/27

Cats are a huge part of Japanese culture, and cat cafes are a result of the infatuation with cats. In this article, we introduce cat cafe establishments, top 5 cat cafes in Tokyo, and another type of cat cafe - rescue-cat cafes. Bonus content, watch a video of our visit to Cat Cafe Mocha in Harajuku. 


Table of Content

  1. What’s a cat cafe? 
    1. History of Cat Cafes
    2. What is the purpose of cat cafes?
  2. Top 5 Cat Cafes in Tokyo
    1. Cat Cafe Mocha
    2. Temari no Ouchi Cat Cafe
    3. Temari no Oshiro Cat Cafe
    4. Cat Cafe Cateriam
    5. Cat Caffe Tamaneko
  3. Visiting a Cat Cafe
    1. General Rules in Cat Cafes
    2. Food and Drinks
    3. Payment System - How much does it cost to enter a Cat Cafe?
    4. How long do people usually spend at a cat cafe?
    5. How much does it cost to go to a cat cafe?
  4. What’s a Rescue-Cat Cafe?
    1. What is the purpose of rescue-cat cafes?
    2. In that case, are rescue-cat cafes cheaper? 
    3. Why should I support rescue-cat cafes?
    4. Differences Between Cat Cafe and Rescue-Cat Cafe
  5. Takeaway

What’s a Cat Cafe? 

A cat cafe, or neko cafe (猫カフェ) is a cafe with cats. It is the perfect place to relax and unwind whilst surrounded by adorable kitties. You can choose to just watch the cats, engage with them, or simply relax with a book and bask in their presence. Recently, some people have also chosen cat cafes as a place to do remote work. 

History of Cat Cafes

Did you know that the concept of cat cafes originated from Taiwan? 

 

5/17星期二店休!

Posted by 小貓花園 on Saturday, May 14, 2022

This is Cat Flower Garden, 小貓花園 (xiǎo māo huā yuán), in Taipei, Taiwan. Operating since 1998, Cat Flower Garden is well known as the world’s first cat cafe. Greatly inspired by the concept of a cat cafe, in 2004, the first cat cafe in Japan started its business in Osaka. 

Photo Credit: © Neko no Jikan

This is Neko no Jikan (猫の時間), or “Time for Cats”. Opened in 2004, Neko no Jikan is Japan’s first cat cafe that can be found in Osaka. Their main store has a traditional Japanese room setting inclusive of tatami flooring, whilst their second branch called “Second House” has a French cafe-style setting. Since the store’s establishment, hundreds of other cat cafes have sprouted up in Japan especially in main cities like Tokyo. 

Visit their website for more information: nekonojikan.com

What is the purpose of cat cafes? 

There is more to cat cafes than just drinking coffee in the presence of cats. If you’re wondering what the purpose of cat cafes is, or even why they are popular in the first place, this may answer your questions. 

The purpose of cat cafes is:

  1. Relaxation: To provide a place of relaxation for customers. 

  2. Home: A home for cats (who earn their keep). 

  3. Business: A business to make money. 

  4. Company: For people who cannot keep a cat to play with cats; perhaps because they do not have time, money, or an apartment that allows pets. 

Top 5 Cat Cafes in Tokyo 

If you’re reading this, you probably want to visit a cat cafe in Japan. Here, we introduce 5 of the best cat cafes in Tokyo. 

1. Cat Cafe Mocha

One of the most popular cat cafes in Japan, Cat Cafe Mocha has many stores in different parts of Japan: Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and more. In Tokyo itself, they have 9 stores:

  • 2 in Ikebukuro
  • 3 in Shibuya
  • Akihabara
  • Shinjuku
  • Tachikawa
  • Machida

Cat Cafe Mocha has many beautiful cats. If you visit their website and check the store’s page, you can see what cats will be waiting to meet you at the store. Feeding time is twice a day at 10:30 and 19:30 if you want to see the cats line up to crunch on their kibble. 

Cat Cafe Mocha usually charges 220 yen per 10 minutes. We recommend checking the specific store page as some stores run a different payment system. 

Our WeXpats TV team visited Cat Cafe Mocha in Harajuku. Have a sneak peak at what a cat cafe in Japan looks like. Spoiler: It’s cute. 

 

Official Website: https://catmocha.jp/

2. Temari no Ouchi Cat Cafe

Photo Credit: WeXpats (Photo from one of our members who visited)

Temari no Ouchi Cat Cafe is located in Kichijoji and is only 5 minutes walk from Kichijoji Station’s north exit. This cafe’s charm is their forest theme with log stools, trees, and little huts. It has a comfortable and peaceful atmosphere. There are also many dark hiding places so the cats can feel at ease. 

Another great point about Temari no Ouchi is that they have fixed prices. The payment system is price per entry, no extension charges, and no time limit. Visiting at night after 19:00 is cheaper at only 1,100 yen on weekdays and 1,320 yen on weekends. Daytime prices are more expensive but still cheap considering there’s no time limit. 

Unlike many cat cafes, they do not have an age limit provided that they are accompanied by a guardian so families with young children can also visit. They serve a variety of food and drinks, even alcohol and kid’s meals, so you and your family can have quite a proper meal here.  

They have a sister store called Temari no Oshiro that is also in Kichijoji and nearby Temari no Ouchi (more below). . 

Official Website: http://www.temarinoouchi.com/ (Instagram, shared with Temari no Oshiro)

3. Temari no Oshiro Cat Cafe

Sister store of Temari no Ouchi above, Temari no Oshiro Cat Cafe also located in Kichijoji is only a 4 minutes walk from Ouchi, and 4 minutes walk from Kichijoji Station. They have a different theme. Temari no Oshiro’s theme is an olden day Western castle village, with a castle of course, because “Oshiro (お城)” means castle. 

Their payment system and prices are the same as the sister store, and also share the same menu. In addition, they have a private booking plan where you can reserve the 2nd floor for events like weddings, birthday parties, and also photo sessions. 

Official Website: https://temarinooshiro.com/

4. Cat Cafe Cateriam

Photo Credit: © 2022 cat cafe Cateriam

Cat cafe Cateriam is located in Shimokitazawa, a town famous for its hipster vibes, vintage thrift stores, and soup curry. It is only a 1 minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station on the Inokashira Line, and 5 minutes walk from Shimokitazawa Station on the Odakyu Line. 

Cat cafe Cateriam is recommended for those who are new to cat cafes or cats, and are not sure if they will like it. They have a “trial system” where you can stay for a short time at a discounted price: 300 yen for 15 minutes, or 500 yen for 30 minutes. In addition, they have many choices of plans to fit different needs: basic plan (1100 yen for 1 hour with 1 drink included), value plan (2, 3, 5 hours with 1 drink included), full-day plan, all-you-can-drink plan. 

Guests who visit on their birthday will be gifted a special birthday present: a 2-shot photo with a cat, or 2 card photos of cats (called “promide (プロマイド)” in Japanese). 

Official Website: https://www.cateriam.com/ (Twitter, Youtube)

5. Cat Caffe & Hotel Tamaneko

Photo Credit: © 多摩センターのねこカフェ「たまねこ」ねこホテル併設

Cat Caffe Tamaneko is located in Tama City, Tokyo. It is a 10 minutes walk from Tama Centre Station on the Odakyu and Keio Lines. Right nearby and only a 5 minutes walk away from the cat cafe is Sanrio Puroland

Cat Caffe Tamaneko has a mix of exotic cat breeds (mostly ragdolls) and mixed breed cats. Some space in the store is reserved for their other cat hotel business. The business owners are deeply involved with animal welfare. Cat adoption events are sometimes held at the store and they also help with cat rescues. In a sense, visiting the cat cafe will mean indirectly helping out cats in need!! It’s for a great cause! 

The prices at Cat Caffe Tamaneko are quite standard. On weekdays, it’s 500 yen for 30 minutes, and 1,000 yen for 1 hour. Whilst on weekends, it’s 650 yen for 30 minutes, and 1,300 yen for 1 hour. In addition, extension charges is 100 yen for every additional 10 minutes. 

Friday is a special day at Cat Caffe Tamaneko, called “Adult Day''. On this day only, they offer a full day plan for 1,200 yen. Moreover, since it’s “Adult Day”, children can only stay to a maximum of 1 hour so the adults (and cats!) can relax quietly

Official Website: https://tamaneko.jp/ (Facebook, Twitter)

Visiting a Cat Cafe

General Rules in Cat Cafes

Most cat cafes uphold the following rules, please understand that these rules are kept in place to maintain the welfare and safety of the cats. 

  1. No Rough Treatment: Do not chase, forcefully hug, pick up, or restrain the cats.

  2. No Outside Food: Do not give outside food or drinks to the cats. Cat cafes may sell cat treats - purchase and feed those to the cats instead. The staff will guide you. 

  3. No Flash: Do not use flash photography. This is harmful to the cat's vision. 

  4. No Outside Toys: Do not bring outside toys for the cats. Cat cafes provide toys that have been sanitized, so you may use these to play with the cats instead.

  5. Self Responsibility: You will be responsible for any damage to your clothes or belongings. Cats may chew or scratch your things (some cats love scratching jeans), so pick your outfit carefully. Some cat cafes provide lockers where you can stow your belongings away. 

  6. No Outside Shoes: Take off your shoes and use the provided indoor slippers when required. 

Other things to take note of are: 

  1. No Overwork: By law, cat cafes are only allowed to operate until 10:00pm (previously until 8.00pm). Take note and avoid visiting businesses that break this rule. Cats need their rest too! 

  2. Be Understanding: The cats may be switched out if they’re feeling unwell or it’s time for their break. If there’s a particular cat you want to meet, try contacting the store beforehand to make an appointment for its available time. 

  3. All Cats Are Lovely: Cats have different personalities and are generally free-spirited creatures. Try not to be too disappointed if a particular cat you like doesn’t show interest in you. It may just be shy or have an independent personality. Visiting often may lead to the cat opening up to you, but in the meantime, engage with the more active and friendly felines. 

  4. Age Restrictions: Many cat cafes have age restrictions. Young children must be accompanied by a guardian, and children below a certain age may not be allowed in at all. This is for the safety of the cats and also the children.

Food and Drinks at Cat Cafes

A cafe isn’t really a cafe unless they serve drinks, which is why drinks are normally served at animal cafes. The drinks may be sold from a vending machine or made fresh, it really depends on the store. Keep your drinks covered at all times when you are not drinking to prevent cats from getting to them, AND ALSO TO KEEP HAIR OUT FROM YOUR DRINK!! There are also cafes that serve food, like Hogo Neko Cafe CHACHA in Nerima, Tokyo (image above). 

Payment System - How much does it cost to enter a cat cafe?

Cat cafes typically charge customers by the period of time they stay in the cafe. There is no one fixed system however; some places charge per entry whilst some charge for every 10 minutes. Some places have a maximum price cap whilst some charge for every additional 30 minutes after the initial hour. Here’s a table of the possible payment systems you may encounter. 

[Note] Some cafes also implement a minimum 1-drink order requirement, whilst some have drinks included in the price. 

If ever in doubt, just check the cafe’s homepage or give them a call. 

How long do people usually stay in a cat cafe? 

Let’s have a look at a “Cat Cafe Survey” conducted in 2020 by Smart Answer that specialises in smartphone online research and surveys. A total of 37,466 people participated in this survey. 

Image Credit: © folium K.K.

According to the survey, the majority of cat cafe visitors stay for 30 minutes to 1 hour for each visit (42.9% of total participants). The follow-up is 1 hour to 1.5 hours each visit (26.7% of total participants). And only 15.1% of participants stayed for 1.5 hours to 2 hours each visit. 

Another interesting point discovered in the survey is that 1 out of 4 ladies in their 20s have visited a cat cafe

※ Smart Answer, “20代女性の4人に1人は猫カフェに行った経験あり | 猫カフェに関する調査結果

How much does it cost to go to a cat cafe in Japan?

According to Neko-chan Honpo, an information website dedicated to cats, the average cost for 1 hour at a cat cafe is 1000 yen. In Tokyo however, the average cost for 1 hour is around 1200~1500 yen

As we mentioned above, different stores have different payment systems. Depending on how long you want to spend there, cat cafes with free-time/1 day plans may be more worthwhile, and some only charge entry fees. Additional costs may be incurred if you want to order food and drinks, or buy cat treats to feed the cats (recommended for photo opportunities). 

※ Neko-chan Honpo, “猫カフェの値段の相場は?子猫、保護猫などもいる有名店の値段まとめ” [2020.10.16]

What is a Rescue-Cat Cafe?

A rescue-cat cafe, or hogo neko cafe (保護猫カフェ) differs from a regular cat cafe. As its name implies, a rescue-cat cafe focuses on the fostering and rescuing of abandoned or stray cats. Unlike a cat cafe whose main goal is profit (afterall, they are a business), the aim of rescue-cat cafes is to get their cats adopted. 

What is the purpose of rescue-cat cafes? 

Rescue-cat Cafes have a higher purpose than regular cat cafes. If you are looking to enjoy (and admire) beautiful purebred cats like Bengals, British Shorthairs, Munchkins, Scottish Folds and the like, rescue-cat cafes may not be for you. Instead, the majority of cats at rescue-cat cafes are mixed breed cats that are ordinary in appearance (but definitely still lovely). 

In that case, are rescue-cat cafes cheaper? 

Yes and no; there are rescue-cat cafes that charge the same price as regular cat cafes. At the same time, there are some that charge lower prices but have a minimum one drink order requirement which means you’ll spend pretty much the same amount anyway. 

Then why should I support rescue-cat cafes?

For rescue-cat cafes, the money earned goes back to the cats. There are always homeless cats, whether due to abandonment, born as a stray or lost, and in need of help. Some of them require extra care due to medical ailments or injury and all these take up money. Not to mention the other expenses for pregnant stray cats, spaying, vaccinations, etc. 

There are also rescue-cat cafes that are involved in the TNR Programme - “Trap, Neuter, Release”. A rescue-cat cafe is one of the ways to gain funding. 

To summarize, the purpose of a rescue-cat cafe:

  1. Relaxation: To provide a place of relaxation for customers. 

  2. Home: A permanent or temporary home for cats (who earn their keep). 

  3. Company: For people who cannot keep a cat to play with cats. Perhaps because they do not have time, money, or an apartment that allows pets. 

  4. Furever Home: An opportunity for cats to get adopted into a forever home.

  5. Cat Welfare: To raise community awareness about homeless cats.

  6. Funding: To gain funding for the care and protection of cats in need. 

  7. Rescue and Care: To rescue and provide shelter for homeless cats, some of which may be gravely injured or disabled.

[Note] 

  1. Rescue-cat cafes are almost always looking for foster parents. Some of the rescue-cats aren’t ready to “work” in the cafe, they need some TLC (tender loving care) to heal wounds, recover, and get accustomed to humans first. 

  2. Before adopting a cat from a rescue-cat cafe, you’ll need to go through a 1-2 weeks trial first. Not just to see whether you are a good match for the cat, but also for the cat to see whether you’d make a good owner for it. 

Differences Between Cat Cafe and Rescue-Cat Cafe

Here, we summarised the difference between regular cat cafes and rescue-cat cafes. 

 

Cat Cafe (Neko Cafe)

Rescue-Cat Cafe (Hogo Neko Cafe)

Breed

Mainly purebred

Mainly mixed breeds

Sources

Breeders, auction, purchase

Abandoned, strays, shelters

Adoption

No (usually)

Yes

Goal

Business profit

Rescue, foster, forever homes

Owner

Companies, businesses

Cat organizations, NPOs (usually)

Takeaway

Cat cafes are a great place to unwind and destress. Whether you are visiting with your friends, partner, family, or even alone, it is an experience that is surely unforgettable. Different cats have different personalities and their own charms, you may find yourselves “falling in love” with one of them. On your next trip to Japan, or even those living in Japan, experience cat cafe at least once, you will surely love it.  

Writer

Tako
Hailed from Malaysia, living in Tokyo. Anime, manga, travel, and food lover. Just doing my best to survive. 一生懸命生きています。

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