Hagu Cafe: Tokyo Shinjuku Kabukicho

Hedgehogs and degus (a fluffy chinchilla-like rodent native to Chile) are the star attractions at this rather specialized animal cafe on the outskirts of Kabukicho. You can choose your favorite hedgehog to play with or feed, and exchange hedgehogs upon request if you want some more variety. Gloves are available but not mandatory, and there are also special-purpose hedgehog cushions you can use to hold your animal.

When you arrive you'll be instructed in the rules of the shop and given tips on how to handle hedgehogs safely. You're then assigned a specific seat with a miniature house-shaped box where your hedgehog will be comfortable. You can purchase a portion of live, wiggly mealworms to feed to your hedgehog, although a snack-size portion of six mealworms costs Y500, which seems to be a bit of a steep markup. Tweezers are provided to handle the mealworms.

After you've fed and taken photos of your hedgehog there's not a lot to do - hedgehogs really aren't the most affectionate of pets. The degus would seem more promising, but unfortunately degu interaction is somewhat restricted. If the staff have time they will take them out of their cages for you to pet, but they have a tendency to get loose and run around (the degus, that is), so they're under close supervision.

You can specify a stay of either thirty or sixty minutes (we found thirty minutes to be sufficient), and the entry price includes a soft drink. Use the shop's website to make online reservations (in Japanese), or just show up if you're feeling lucky, although space is limited so visitors with reservations have priority.

Click on photos below to see larger versions
Hagu Cafe
03-6233-9390
Tokyo Shinjuku Kabukicho / Animal cafe
Open noon-8pm daily.
Admission fee Y1200 for 30 minutes, Y2200 for one hour
Average visit time: 30 minutes
Shinjuku-ku, Kabukicho 1-27-3, KK Bldg 4F.
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