特集 2015年9月25日

Owl Cafes are "in"

A sea of birds
A sea of birds
I was taking a walk near my house late last year when I felt like I saw something rustle very intensely in the corner of my eye.

I hurried back to where I saw this rustling and saw a hawk. I also saw someone drinking coffee near the hawk while petting an owl.

Some of you may have no clue what I'm talking about. What I had witnessed was something that was going on inside of a cafe.
Born in Kyoto in 1973. A stationary lover who writes about stationary. Thought about how an average joe like himself could become popular during his elementary school years, and came to the conclusion that showing off interesting stationary goods was the answer. Continues to show off stationary to this day.


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Bird cafes are "in"

I actually knew that such stores existed.
But I had no idea that one where you could have coffee while petting birds had opened in a location that is a five-minute walk from my house.
A store with glass doors located along a big road
A store with glass doors located along a big road
"Tori no iru Cafe" (A cafe where the birds are) - A very simple and self-explanatory name.
As simple as "a samurai with a topknot" or "a dog that is like a cat".

At this point it is obvious what lies beyond the glass.
I look inside and see the birds glaring at me. It actually looks like they're all ready to hunt me.
They're staring at the entrance!
They're staring at the entrance!
A harris's hawk greets me at the entrance. Although the hawk is small, its gaze is exceptionally fierce. That's one handsome bird right there.
Contrary to its fierceness, he has a cute name : Pi-chan.
Contrary to its fierceness, he has a cute name : Pi-chan.
A spotted-eagle owl scopes out his visitors
A spotted-eagle owl scopes out his visitors
A bus station is located right in front of the store, and the people who were awaiting the bus were all looking inside the window.
I guess you can say that this is one of the best bus stops in the metropolitan area as one would never get bored waiting for a bus here.
Here, one wouldn't mind waiting for hours and hours for the bus to come.
Here, one wouldn't mind waiting for hours and hours for the bus to come.

The splendid reception by the "bird staff"

Just watching the owls and hawks from outside the store is enjoyable enough.

But for further satisfaction, you must go inside, where you can witness the warm welcoming by the "bird staff".
Warm welcome # 1: A sleepy-looking owl that fits in your palm.
Warm welcome # 1: A sleepy-looking owl that fits in your palm.
Warm welcome #2 : A caique sits on your shoulder.
Warm welcome #2 : A caique sits on your shoulder.
These two birds are both male. The sight is sure to melt the hearts of bird-lovers.
These two birds are both male. The sight is sure to melt the hearts of bird-lovers.
The trending adorably ugly African Gray. It's actually a baby, although it looks pretty old.
The trending adorably ugly African Gray. It's actually a baby, although it looks pretty old.
So, how about it? Do you want to be welcomed warmly by these lovely birds?

10 "bird staffs" are permanently stationed in the store. You may be able to pet or hold these birds (Please note that you may not be able to if the store is too crowded).

The staff members may change, as some may leave the store for various reasons, such as to be adopted by someone.
An owl that sits on your arm!
An owl that sits on your arm!
いったん広告です

Next destination : "Fukuro No Mise" ("The Owl Store" )

I heard that there was another bird cafe located a station away from "Tori no iru Cafe" so I decided to visit it.
An
An "Owl Heaven" located right by the station.
"The Owl Store" - again, a very self-explanatory name.
My guess is that many bird cafes have such simple and self-explanatory names so that customers can easily understand the concept of the service. This may be because these types of cafes are less-known compared to the more mainstream animal cafes such as neko-cafes (cat cafes).

The sign outside made things even more clear.
The owl says
The owl says "Feel free to come in!!"
How unpretentious of this owl to tell us "feel free to come in and have tea while a ferocious bird sits on your arm".

It's like a cat cafe, only there are owls instead of cats.

The first sight you will see when you step into the store.
The first sight you will see when you step into the store.
The owls, whom I thought would be in cages, were sitting all over the store.
The style of this store is very close to that of a cat cafe, where customers can freely pet
cats or have them sit on their laps.
Pet the owls like the little boy is doing here. They're fluffy, warm, and smooth!
Pet the owls like the little boy is doing here. They're fluffy, warm, and smooth!
They're everywhere!
They're everywhere!
No, really. Everywhere.
No, really. Everywhere.
What a laid-back cafe.
What a laid-back cafe.

An owl that sits on your arm. Adorbs.

Although I was too preoccupied with the owls at first, I began to notice something eerie - every single customer besides me was grinning! And all because there were owls perched on their arms.

Just like it said on the sign, people were actually having tea while an owl sat on their arm.
A person with an owl on their arm looking at photos of an owl.
A person with an owl on their arm looking at photos of an owl.
This guy has been looking happy the entire time he's been here. You know why? Because there's an owl on his arm.
This guy has been looking happy the entire time he's been here. You know why? Because there's an owl on his arm.
The man in the photo above is a regular customer of this store who works at a nearby Monjya restaurant.
He became fond of owls and even adopted an owl from this store. But apparently, having an owl of his own isn't enough for him, and he always stops by the store before heading to work to satisfy his yearning for owls.
This guy's obsessions with owls is matchless (No offense to this guy).
I've never seen myself smile this much, even in a mirror.
I've never seen myself smile this much, even in a mirror.
Of course I'm smiling the entire time I'm here, too.
The ice in my iced coffee had melted and my drink had become coffee-flavored water while I was having fun with the owls.
Time sure flies by when you're drooling over these cuties.
I bet you can't keep from smiling  while looking at this adorable burrowing owl.
I bet you can't keep from smiling while looking at this adorable burrowing owl.
いったん広告です

Last stop - "Cafe little Zoo"

Apparently, the first two stores I visited had both received inspiration from a a Cafe in Narashino called "Cafe little ZOO".
Apparently "Cafe little ZOO" is the center of the bird-lover community in the Tokyo/Chiba area.
A cafe surrounded by houses.
A cafe surrounded by houses.
I made my way over to the store while following a map, but it turns out I didn't even need a map. All I had to do was continue to walk down a straight road until I saw the owls.
Open-air owls.
Open-air owls.
There is no way you can get lost while making your way over to this cafe.
The birds were kept indoors at the two bird cafes I visited earlier. Here, however. they were sitting outside. When you're walking outside and the sights of these birds catch your eye, the impact is so great that you will look twice. It's as if these birds serve as a sign for the store.

So, if the owls are outside, then what's inside?
The answer was written on the menu plate inside of the store.
A store where you can meet turtles and owls! Check out the cute logo.
A store where you can meet turtles and owls! Check out the cute logo.
This cafe wasn't just a bird cafe. It was a cafe with birds AND reptiles. Talk about extravagant!

A store that reptile-lovers will not be able to resist

Tanks containing reptiles, everywhere!
Tanks containing reptiles, everywhere!
The walls are fully-lined with tanks containing snakes, lizards and turtles. A huge glass tank sits on the counter too.
This adorable sternotherus minor looks surprised!
This adorable sternotherus minor looks surprised!
A mata mata that hardly ever moves unless it's being fed.
A mata mata that hardly ever moves unless it's being fed.
Check out this super-cute short-legged tiliqua rugosa . Owls would be great to have as pets but this guy would be nice to have as a pet too!
Check out this super-cute short-legged tiliqua rugosa . Owls would be great to have as pets but this guy would be nice to have as a pet too!
The ball python - the only snake that would make a great scarf.
The ball python - the only snake that would make a great scarf.
Playing with reptiles is a new type of service in Japan (Although it seems kind of obvious).
If I do say so myself, I look photogenic here, with my smile and the snake wrapped around my neck.
My smile is as big as when I was holding the owl!
I love reptiles, so personally, I am already very satisfied at this point. But there were more cuties waiting outside...
A Spotted-Eagle Owl who looks dumbfounded.
A Spotted-Eagle Owl who looks dumbfounded.
A way-too-cute hobby.
A way-too-cute hobby.
While I was snapping pictures, I hear "Oh my gosh!" "It moved!" from the distance. Two women were looking at the owls, surprised. Been there, ladies. Anyone who walks down this road will probably be surprised by these owls.
These birds turn around when they hear your voice.
These birds turn around when they hear your voice.

Fully-equipped with a huge parking space

I found some mysterious objects outside. Sheets are draped over what look like signs and partition plates.
Mysterious object #1: Sign
Mysterious object #1: Sign
Mysterious object #2: Post
Mysterious object #2: Post
Mysterious object #3: Another sign
Mysterious object #3: Another sign
Mysterious object #4 : Partition plate
Mysterious object #4 : Partition plate
"What are these?"
"Bird-lovers from far and wide come and visit us on the weekends, bringing their own birds with them. We keep everyone's birds perched on these objects and keep them tied so they don't fly away.

So it was a parking space for birds!
Apparently, sometimes this space is full of birds. I'd love to catch a glimpse of that!

"Fukuro no Mise"'s price list for owl's feed, that consists mostly of frozen quail's eggs.
I am really scared because one small impulse may cause me to actually adopt one of these owls.

I mean, I had people who love owls so much that they began their own owl store coach me on how charming owls are and how easy they are to take care of. How can I not be tempted to buy one?

I took this photo of a list of bird feeds and how much each one costs. I didn't take it for the article. This was purely for myself. That's how serious I am about getting an owl!
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