Kotori no Ouchi Inko Cafe: Fujisawa-shi

Things can get pretty squawky in the bird room here, as parakeets, cockatiels and Java sparrows fly noisily overhead and the resident parrots keep a sharp eye on visitors, on the lookout for any sunflower seeds that might be in their possession.

Once you wash your hands and venture past the bird room's mesh curtain it's very much a hands-on experience - birds will happily perch on extended fingers as well as arms, shoulders and heads. Some of them enjoyed taking exploratory nibbles at fingernails, arms and camera straps to test for edibility.

While most of the birds were relatively gentle, we were a bit surprised by the lack of protective gloves, given the high level of interactivity. Let's just say that this is the first bird cafe we've been to where we felt like maybe we ought to have a safe word. At the very least, you'll want to wear long sleeves when you visit.

The one-hour cover charge includes one drink, and the proprietress handed us a small finch to play with while we sipped our iced tea in the cafe area. Perhaps the most unexpected sight was a tiny, one-month-old kitten, enthusiastically playing with a cat toy in the front of the shop and seemingly oblivious to the raucous avian activity going on all around.

The colorful species include sun parakeet, Pacific parrotlet, canary-winged parakeet, cockatiel, monk parakeet, sulphur-crested cockatoo and blue-and-yellow macaw.

(The shop - "House of Birds Parakeet Cafe" is a rough translation of the name - is located deep in suburban Kanagawa Prefecture, at a small station on the way to Fujisawa and Enoshima. Note that the staff speak only Japanese, as do the parrots.)

Kotori no Ouchi Inko Cafe
080-3428-8792
Fujisawa-shi / Bird cafe
Open 11am-6pm daily.
Cover charge Y1200 for one hour
Average visit time: 60 minutes
Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken, Takakura 641-5.
1 minute from Chogo station (Odakyu Enoshima line)
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