Love or hate them, pet cafes have become popular places over the last decade or so. Much has been written and said about the various dog, cat, rabbit and owl cafes and one really should do their own research before visiting such places as there are plenty of dubious ones operating under poor and squalid conditions.
When I heard about a capybara cafe a couple of years ago my first thought was “What the hell is a capybara?!” as I’d never heard of them. After that I wondered if it was a place where the animals are treated well, and I should add that there are always going to be some reviews of discontent so be careful in your judgement.
The capybara cafe I was first aware of was in Ueno and though I was intrigued I never bothered to go there. I have no idea if it’s an ok place or not. However, when I saw the following place on the the Shiverz YouTube channel (the video is at the foot of this post) I was more interested and eventually got round to to taking my wife there a month or two later.
Entrance was 950 yen each and included a cup of little biscuits for feeding them as well as a drink for ourselves from the mini fridge not that we actually bothered with the latter. The entrance ticket allows you to stay for as long as you want (many pet cafes charge in 30 minute blocks), and even lets you leave and come back later that day. Once we’d paid the owner held up a card and read out the rules of the place.
Capybara Land PUIPUI (5-8-13 Edaminami, Tsuzuki-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa-ken) features three capybaras, Potato-chan, Ringo-chan and Ron-kun! They are all three years old (about 20 in human age!) which is about as long as the place has been open. For the record, it’s open from midday to 7pm from Wednesday to Sunday.
We were the only customers on the afternoon we went there and it really was a calm and soothing place due to the nature sound effects on the sound system and the images of Hawaii on the TV monitor. These large living rodents too are healing animals with their relaxed attitude though one of them was quite excited by my appearance at the start and was nibbling at the crotch of my trousers!
My knowledge of capybaras is fairly limited but on the positive side it’s more than it was a couple of years back!! They are natives to South America and the friendly owners informed us that whilst their eyesight is a little poor, their hearing is very good and supposedly know and understand what humans are doing around them. Their feet are very interesting too as they’re slightly webbed with three and four toes on their rear and front feet respectively.
The only other thing I can remember is that they poo in water, and there is a fairly large wooden basin for them to do that in. You could tell from speaking to the owners that they have such admiration for these special animals and are raising them with great passion and love.
Information is on the walls about the three capybaras and their differing personalities.
In true Japanese-style there are all manner of capybara-related souvenirs on sale. Sugarcane (500 yen) or sugar cane and seasonal vegetables (1000 yen) can also be purchased should you want to feed the animals a bit more.
In terms of train travel, Eda is the closest station and is just under 40 minutes away from Shibuya on the Den-en-toshi Line. Follow that with a twenty minute walk and you’ll reach Capybara Land PUIPUI. After spending nearly 90 minutes there we returned to the station and had some dinner at gyudon (beef bowl) chain Sukiya and were sat at a table which really shows the extent of the Covid_19 situation we have in Japan whereby we can’t even see each other’s faces whilst eating!
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