Mipig is a cafe where you can hang out with cute baby pigs. They're friendly and curious, and they wag their tails just like puppies. You can pet them when they sit in your lap and they make cute snorting noises. Really, what more do you need to know?

Compared to typical cat cafes and other animal-encounter venues, a visit to Mipig is a more structured experience - you're assigned a specifc place to sit (on comfortable sofa-like floor-level cushions), and you're asked to order a minimum of one soft drink as soon as you sit down. They also serve desserts, including photogenic pig-shaped pastries.

Once you're settled in, the staff will go out of their way to encourage the piglets to come interact with you. They (the staff) are also happy to answer any pig-related questions you may have, and there are usually a number of English speakers on duty.

The staff dispense small treats to reward friendly interaction, although occasionally this leads to minor squabbles between the younger piglets, which are quickly quelled. Pig activity is mainly comprised of wandering around the playroom, sniffing visitors, snuggling with visitors and sometimes taking brief naps. They don't like to be picked up, but they will happily sit on your lap while you pet them.



Setting themselves apart from the other cat-focused gift shops in Yanaka, Neko Action sells original artwork and cat-themed craft items such as ceramic figurines, t-shirts and nihonga-style painted stones. There are also bento boxes and chopstick rests, postcards and greeting cards, stationery supplies and rubber stamps, change purses and keychains - making this an excellent one-stop shopping destination for all your cat-oriented gift and souvenir shopping.

The aptly named Animal Meeting Room is a rescue shelter that's set up so that potential pet adopters can interact in a relaxed setting with dogs and cats looking for a home. The main area is a big, noisy dog playroom with plenty of space for dogs to run around in, plus ample seating for visitors. Next door is a cozier, and much warmer, cat playroom furnished with the multiple climbing areas and numerous shelves that make cats happy.

The entry procedure here is slightly more involved than your typical pet cafe, with a short form to fill out (in Japanese) with your name and address and your pet adoption intentions. After that you can take your time playing with the dogs and cats here, and if it's your first visit there's no time limit - take as long as you like! (For subsequent visits the Y500 entry fee covers the first half hour.)

When we visited on a quiet weekday afternoon there were five resident dogs and four cats, all of them quite happy to meet us. The cats in particular were much more friendly and outgoing than at your typical cat cafe, perhaps because they don't receive so many visitors. There's a limited supply of cat toys to play with, and cat treats are available for sale.

The Meeting Room is located on the ground floor of a Christian church - the former location of Hogoken dog cafe, which has now moved to the opposite side of Nishi-Hachioji Station. Upstairs is a vaguely Christmas-themed cafe called Merry and Bright, which serves coffee, tea and light meals. You can get your coffee or tea to go and bring it down to the animal zone if you like.

If you're still in the mood to meet more dogs you can combine a trip here with a visit to the Hogoken rescue-dog cafe on the north side of the station, about thirteen minutes away on foot. [Continue]

Located at the entrance to Nagasaki Bio Park, this multi-species animal cafe makes a nice final stop after spending a few hours in the main park. The facility consists of a dog playroom with an outdoor run, a cat playroom, and a front room housing birds, reptiles and small mammals. There are more than two dozen species represented here, including parrots, rabbits, hedgehogs, degus, ferrets, chinchillas, mice, iguanas, tortoises, geckos and snakes.

The cat playroom is furnished with climbing courses and plenty of niches and perching spots, with comfortable chairs and sofas for visitors. Picnic-table seating is provided in the outdoor dog run. There's quite a bit of enrichment activity for the dogs in particular, with staff on hand to play with them throughout the day.

A fairly constant stream of visitors arrive from the park, but the dogs and cats get frequent rest breaks. Usually either the dog room or the cat room is closed for a thirty-minute break at any given time, and the dogs are rotated in and out so they're not on duty all the time.

If you're here at 4:30pm it's evening rush hour for the resident guinea pigs, who walk sngle file over a narrow bridge from their daytime enclosures to be packed off to wherever it is they go at night....


Advertised as Japan's first Italian cat cafe, Yadorigi serves Italian food and coffee as well as wine, craft beer and cat-themed cocktails. They're a rescue-cat cafe, so most of the dozen or so resident cats (numbers may vary) are ready for adoption. There's no entry fee or time limit, but you are required to order one food item and one drink item from the menu when you visit.

The playroom-dining space is set up more like a regular cafe than a cat cafe, although there is a box-filled play area at the front of the room, and a long, narrow overhead catwalk that runs the length of the cafe, ending up in a private break area in back. The cats tend to make themselves at home on visitors' coats, bags and laps, so prepare accordingly. The residents all seem to get along pretty well, with lots of social grooming and minimal hissing. You'll find the usual fishing-pole toys if you want to play with them, and cat treats are sold for Y500.

There are separate menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner items, although you can order from any of the menus at any time of day.


Fairly spacious by cat-cafe standards, Keurig provides ample table and counter space for visitors and a stimulating environment for the resident cats, with lots of climbing and perching opportunities. There's a good supply of cat toys as well, and the staff seem to be proactive in keeping the cats entertained. There were around 30 cats when we visited, including many lively kittens.

The cafe menu is one of the biggest we've seen in a cat cafe, with numerous fancy desserts and beverages. The first drink is included with the price of admission. Cat treats are Y100 and come in a small plastic capsule which doubles as a cat toy. The treats aren't just kibble, but a bonito-flavored fish paste which seems to be quite popular. [Continue]

Yahoneko is one of the liveliest cat cafes we've seen in Tokyo, with a spacious playroom that's well designed to keep the 28 resident cats entertained and happy. Besides the usual cat shelves, climbing equipment and cat tunnels there's also a giant exercise wheel - a much larger version of a hamster wheel - which is in constant use. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the busy supermarket just across the alleyway, so there's plenty of activity for the cats to oversee.

The playroom is well furnished for human visitors as well, with comfortable seating, a huge manga library and a big-screen monitor showing a stream of anime programming. For a small charge you can help yourself to unlimited coffee, tea and soft drinks. WiFi is free.

Cat treats are priced at Y500 for three packs of around a dozen nuggets each. These are enormously popular, and a good investment if you want to make friends quickly. When you make a purchase you'll be given a tightly sealed plastic tub to keep them in until you distribute them.


Nagasaki Biopark is a massive outdoor animal park - sort of a cross between a petting zoo with tame animals that you can feed and a regular zoo with less domesticated animals. There are around 2000 animals from 200 species spread out over 30 hectares, so there's plenty of animal interaction to fill a two- or three-hour visit. While you're here you can also drop in to the PAW animal cafe at the park entrance, where you can enjoy the company of dogs and cats, rabbits and guinea pigs.

If you don't want to go by car, there are three shuttle buses a day in each direction from the entrance to Huis Ten Bosch amusement park (next to JR Huis Ten Bosch station). The trip takes 45 minutes each way and runs along a very scenic route. Online bus reservations are required, and three hours is probably a good amount of time to plan for your visit, factoring in time for lunch-eating, dog-petting and gift-store shopping. Note that some of the animals go off duty about thirty minutes before the park's official closing time.

A herd of friendly capybaras is one of the main attractions here, and there are instructions on the website explaining how to pet them.... [Continue]

A sister shop of the popular Temari no Ouchi cat cafe (located just around the corner), this second branch sports a similarly fanciful Ghibli-esque decor, and is a relaxing spot to spend some time with cats. Unlike most cat cafes there's no time limit, so you don't have to keep checking your watch, and there's a full menu of food as well as coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages if you want to extend your stay.

The two-story cafe houses twenty resident cats, although during a recent visit we didn't see quite that many - presumably the others were either on a break or napping in some of the cafe's many cubbyholes. Residents include Norwegian Forest Cats, Maine Coon Cats, Scottish Folds, Munchkins, a Bengal and other photogenic breeds.

One of a chain of multi-species animal cafes, this branch of Moff is the smallest, and the only one without a cat room. It's also probably the least interesting in terms of animal interactions - the parakeets in the small-bird room will perch on your head and shoulders for a few minutes and the giant parrots will squawk loudly at you, but otherwise the animals are fairly indifferent to human visitors. Even the resident meerkat, usually a rather friendly animal, here seems more interested in inspecting visitors' shoelaces than in playing with people.

During our visit we did get to observe one of the parrots swooping around the room on command, and most visitors took advantage of this unexpected photo opportunity. In addition to numerous birds and one meerkat, other resident animals include hedgehogs, several types of owl, a giant tortoise, a few lizards, guinea pigs and rabbits.



The Animal Cafes guidebook is now available in stores throughout Japan, and worldwide through Kinokuniya and other online booksellers!

It's a bilingual (English/Japanese), expertly curated guide to the very best pet cafes located around Japan, with unbiased reviews and plenty of candid photos of the resident cats, dogs, rabbits, parakeets and owls that you'll encounter there.