Fuwafuwa: Yokohama

Billed as a "place you can meet owls," the Fuwafuwa cafe is a light, airy space just across the main road in front of Ichigao station. It's been open since April 2014, and offers a friendly parliament of twenty owls. Like the other hands-on venues in town, it's all about quality time with the owls - after a five-minute talk on bird-handling etiquette, you are free to pet the birds and take photos for the rest of the hour.

The busy but super-obliging manageress offers visitors the chance to pose with a bird on the hand, shoulder, or even head. One nice innovation is the full-length mirror that allows customers to photograph their reflections with the birds, who for some reason always look the other way at the crucial moment.

The owl selection features many familiar species available in other cafes, such as eagle-owls, rufous-legged owl, tropical screech owl, barn owl, sooty owl and tawny owl. They did have some species that we've not seen before in a cafe setting - including a bit-too-friendly spectacled owl and a tiny ferruginous pygmy owl that drew sighs of "Aww, so cute!" from the other guests.

On our visit, two birds were unavailable for photographs - like its famous fellow Hedwig from the Harry Potter movies, the imperious snowy owl was "resting" between roles in a corner, and Rou, the western screech owl, was on an extended nap because she was "a little old lady."

The fee is Y1500 for an hour, and that includes a soft drink. Depending on the day, it may be possible to extend your visit by another thirty minutes for an additional fee of Y500. The shop can only take about a dozen visitors at one time, so it's best to make a reservation by phone.

Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri: 2pm to 8pm; Sat: noon to 8pm; Sun, hols: 11am to 8pm

Fuwafuwa
080-7990-2960
Yokohama / Bird cafe
Open 2-8pm. Closed Thursdays.
Cover charge Y1500 for one hour; includes one drink
Average visit time: 60 minutes
Yokohama Aoba-ku, Ichigaocho 1162-1.
2 minutes from Ichigao station (Denentoshi line; 35 minutes from Shibuya)
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