Seeing the words “pig cafe” may make some people think that this is a place specialising in pork-based dishes but thankfully this is just the latest in a never-ending line of animal-based cafes in Japan.
First there were cat and dog cafes, and then the likes of rabbits, reptiles, owls, hedgehogs, capybara and so on followed suit. A few years ago, I heard about this pig cafe via YouTube and added it to my list of places to go. Admittedly, it took a bit longer than expected to go to one of these places in Harajuku (there is another in Meguro) but that day finally came last November when my wife and I both had a weekday off together.
This is a popular place so just turning up out-of-the-blue is unlikely to yield too much luck so I made a reservation for the late afternoon, and only told my wife that we were going to Harajuku. She usually assumes it’s something to do with animals though given my history for such surprises!
I’m definitely something of a hypocrite when it comes to animals being used for such entertainment purposes. Certainly, for the domesticated animals I don’t see much of a problem but I’m really not sure about some of the more wild animals featuring in these places. Having done my research though, I felt content with going to this piglet cafe.
Before entering the pig pen area I paid 3520 yen (1760 per person) which is admittedly a little pricey but as a one-off it’s fairly acceptable for something which is kind of unique. There was also a form to fill in where you have to say if you have been to countries where hog cholera had been identified within the previous 48 hours, or if you had been in contact with any other pigs in that same time frame.
As soon as we sat down on our cushions in the open plan area, the piglets swarmed round us. They really were very friendly and the whole atmosphere, with a big tree growing through the ground and ceiling in the centre of the woodland-esque decor, was like something out of a children’s storytime book.
It is all very cute and fits in with the ethic of the Harajuku area itself. However, I didn’t feel out of place in this cafe!
One very basic and average drink is included in the entry price as it is a cafe after all! Sweets including donuts, roll cake, chiffon cake and a special limited pig cake are also available.
The piglets are really cute and curious too so you have to be careful with your belongings. They seemingly like to explore their surroundings in groups.
You’re not allowed to pick the pigs up and cuddle them in your arms as such but they will climb all over you. Stroking them is really nice but be warned that their fur is certainly rougher than dog or rabbit hair.
There are mini beds and sofas in the main area for the pigs to relax and play on. If only they’d have stayed still for my pictures!!
The half hour time limit soon passed by in no time at all and we all departed as the next load of customers came in. It’s a fairly instant turn-around and Mpig has it down to a tee to maxmise their revenue very efficiently.
There are several other animal cafes in Harajuku, and one should probably be cautious about giving custom to a few of them, but on the surface this pig one seems like a a well-run, friendly and unique place which is fun and therapeutic for those who visit.
- mipig cafe Harajuku is located at 1-15-4 Barubizon 1F, Jingumae, Shibuya -ku. It is open from 10am till 8pm everyday.
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