One of those things I had aaaaalllways heard about but never truly believed to exist, is the Calico Cat Cafe, which was a very welcomed stop during our 2-week sojourn in Japan. Right when I was missing my own cats so dearly (I just had to include a photo of each of them in this gallery!).
Calico (pronounced, in Japanese Hiragana as “Kya-ri-ko”) Cat Cafe is located in the suburb of Mitaka, Tokyo, and I have to admit upfront that this was the main reason why we took the train to this area. We walked around the lovely, small, and perfectly crowded streets, taking in all the local shops and vendors and food stands, and even stopping for ice cream. An advertisement in the train station led us in the right direction, and after anxiously searching through all the vibrant colors and going-ons of the area, we finally spotted the billboard we were looking for, and made our way upstairs to the cafe.
As we entered, we followed the strict rules of removing our shoes, disinfecting our hands, and locking our stuff up in mini lockers before entering paradise: 900 yen gets you in for one hour, and you can interact and play with the dozens of cats that permanently live in this cafe. For a few extra hundred yen, you can buy a little pouch of snack meat and feed the excited neko (quick fact: Japanese does not actually have a marker for making things plural, the way we add an ‘s’ to do so; so neko can be one cat or many cats). There are so many different breeds including Persians and Russian Blues as well as adult cats and young, spry kittens.
As if the cats weren’t enough entertainment, the walls are lined with all kinds of books and manga about – guess what? Cats! You can sit down, order a chai or coffee (yes, you can), grab a book, and enjoy the atmosphere of sleeping cats, playing cats, climbing cats, and cats anxious to sniff you and figure out where you are from.
One thing I loved seeing was the middle-aged male businessman who comes in on a regular basis, relaxes with a newspaper, and enjoys the company of the cats. Probably because he either lives in an area that doesn’t allow pets, or is simply too busy to take on the responsibility.
Check out the official website: http://nyans.jp (FYI: Do you know what sound cats make in Japanese? It’s not “meow meow” but “nyaa nyaa,” hence the site link).