Around a decade ago there was a trend for Maid Cafe’s in Tokyo but in the last few years the craze has been for animal themed cafe’s. I’ve only been to a dog cafe (back in 2013) but there are also cafes devoted to cats, rabbits, owls, reptiles, penguins, hedgehogs, sheep and probably a few more unbeknown to me.
Wondering how we’d spend our day off together last Sunday my wife said she’d research cinemas which show two fairly recent (but not brand new) movies as part of a cheap double billing but then she came back minutes later saying she wanted to go to a rabbit cafe in Ikebukuro. How that transition from cinemas to pet cafe happened I do not know!
Anyway, we cycled on down to Ikebukuro and made our way to Mimi Usagi (rabbit) Cafe. Expecting to find it on one of the backstreets we were surprised to find it located on the 8th floor of the building opposite the American Eagle store on the busy shopping road known as Sunshine Street. We hadn’t booked but it seems like it’s a good idea to do so as they were full when we knocked on the door. The owner said to come back in an hour though and so we did.
On our return we were given a list of terms and conditions in both Japanese and English. I was quite astonished to find that the instructions in English were actually very accurate which is something of a rarity in Japan! Before entering the rabbit zone we had to wash our hands in the sink, put on some crocs and an apron and then spray disinfectant on our hands.
The staff told us to be careful when sitting down and once seated it’s probably best to not move around too much which was fine as the rabbits were all very tame and came to us as we were given a small tin of rabbit food to feed them one little piece at a time.
This was very different from our experience on Okunoshima a.k.a. Rabbit Island in Hiroshima prefecture in May 2015. Feeding them there was easy enough but you couldn’t really stroke them like at this cafe where they were so fluffy and playful.
This usagi (rabbit) cafe was basically a tiny little room containing around 30 bunnies and throughout our hour stay there were a few other groups of two or three people all starting and finishing at different times for there is the option of 30 minutes (800 yen) or 60 minutes (1300 yen) including a drink from a fairly extensive menu. No-one is there for the drinks though of course!
There are three different zones in this cosy place and after about half an hour we moved from the main area to a smaller one where we could sit on a sofa and have our drink with a different set of rabbits for company.
For the last ten minutes or so we were on the other side of the wall to where we first started and with a different set of rabbits who presumably don’t mix so well with the ones in other areas.
The staff were very friendly and efficient in dealing with all customers and cleaning up rabbit droppings whilst being available to give information about the rabbits or just to take a photo or two for you with the adorably cute bunnies.
Mimi Usagi Cafe is located at 1-13-9-8F Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku.
Click here to read ‘Okunoshima (a.k.a. Rabbit Island)’
Click here to read ‘Wan Love At A Tokyo Dog Cafe’