Cafe Baron: Tokyo Koenji

Baron is a very laid-back cafe where you can hang out with stunning resident owls and capricious lizards while you enjoy very good coffee, tea and snacks. There's a hands-off policy here - no touching the owls - but you can take all the photos you like as long as you respect each bird's personal space (and turn off your flash).

The enthusiastic proprietor clearly loves his birds, and he seems happy to spend the whole afternoon talking owl lore with his customers (mostly in Japanese). A small library of owl books is also available for perusal. A total of four birds are currently in residence - two great greys, a Ural owl and a barn owl - plus a yellow-headed water monitor and a mangrove monitor who can be seen cavorting in the lizard tanks.

Four or five small tables are lined up on one side of the cafe, with owl-themed artwork on the walls and knick-knacks (mostly for sale) on the shelves. The cafe is known for their Japanese curries, but they seem to run out by mid-afternoon so we ordered the hot apple tart instead, which turned out to be very good.

Dessert with an excellent coffee runs Y700, while curries start at around Y1000; there's no cover charge. As a bonus for foreign visitors, the proprietor speaks fluent English.

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Cafe Baron
Tokyo Koenji / Bird cafe
Open 11am-6pm. Closed Wednesdays.
Average visit time: 20-40 minutes
Koenji-Kita 3-10-5.
Koenji station