Cat Cafe Nekorobi – Tokyo
Ah, Tokyo. Home of the famed Shibuya Crossing, the Park Hyatt from Lost in Translation, bullet trains and cat cafes. Yes, you read that correctly. R and I are quite fond of pets (dogs and cats, in particular). When we went to Hawaii last year, we made sure to stop by the Kauai Humane Society to “adopt” a dog for the day. We got a rambunctious hound mix named Deputy who I could barely handle because he constantly tugged so hard on his leash, sniffing everything in proximity. 😛
As amazing as Tokyo is, R and I found ourselves missing our feline friend Sai from back home. Sai is a darling small tabby whom we’ve become rather fond of. Technically, he’s not ours (he belongs to our neighbor), but he follows us down the hall and exposes his belly to be rubbed. He especially likes to sneak into our apartment when he spies the opportunity.
Opened the door for the delivery guy, did you? Well, check again because someone else scampered into your closet (…the cat). All ribbing aside, we love Sai like our own child pet.
But I’m getting off track.
Back to Tokyo: Cat Café Nekorobi is the original Tokyo ‘cat café’ (although the very first cat café was established in Osaka in 2004). It is a clean and quiet environment.
First, you remove your shoes at the entrance and put on a pair of their slippers. Then you wash your hands with disinfectant soap, which is provided.
At Nekorobi, you pay by time increments to share the same space as the cats. On weekdays, one hour here costs ¥1000 (after that, ¥250 per 15 minutes) or ¥1200/¥300 on weekends. The weekday special course rate is ¥2200 for 3 hours. Wi-Fi, Nintendo Wii usage and drinks from the vending machine are all included in the fee.
You are permitted to pet and play with the cats at certain times, but otherwise they are simply part of the background. The patrons are mostly young and female. Taking pictures of the cats is allowed, as long as you turn off the flash so you don’t scare them.
The café reminded me of someone’s living room. The floors were carpeted, with plush sofas and lounge chairs (with covers – after all, cats shed). In the back was a more space ideal for playing with the cats or propping your laptop on one of the low tables. Rows of tall wooden bookshelves were filled to the brim with manga.
A rather large, long-haired black cat with frenzied eyes flashed before us and scampered across the room.
One cat scaled about six feet in two seconds to perch atop one of the coffee machines. I nicknamed him “Coffee Cat” because he wouldn’t leave the coffee alone.
I enjoyed watching the cats’ antics. Two of them were cuddling in their cat cage, their noses so close it looked like they were kissing. Three cats sidled over to the water bowl. The one that got there last had this woeful expression on his face: “Is this the end of the line?”
Another made a leap for the bookshelf. I’m surprised that cat didn’t topple over a whole stack of manga, but he cleared it just fine.
This poor cat was made to wear these ridiculous ears. Good thing he doesn’t have access to a mirror right now…
And this cat’s playing hide-and-seek! (Or just…hide.)
As a whole, the cats were calm and well-behaved. I suspect that they encounter too many people trying to touch them on a daily basis so if you reach out your hand, they may slink away (that happened to us several times). I’d forgotten that Sai isn’t like most cats: he acts like a dog and craves human attention.
In any case, it was great to spend an hour surrounded by cats while it was raining outside. I highly recommend this place for cat lovers and for those who appreciate a haven of quiet in the midst of bustling Tokyo.
To learn more about Cat Café Nekorobi and plan your own visit, check out the English version website.
Cat Cafe Nekorobi
3F Tact T.O Building Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toyoshima-ku, Tokyo