Calico: Tokyo Shinjuku Kabukicho

Even when it's full of visitors, there are plenty of cats to go around at this spacious, long-established two-story cafe. The shop's website promises more than fifty different cats, and that seems about right - while we were there we noticed a few new cats arriving in carrier boxes, perhaps being brought in to handle the mid-afternoon rush. You'll find many exotic breeds here including the Ocicat, Birman, Chartreux, Singapura, Himalayan and LaPerm, as well as your plain-old, common-or-garden Shorthairs and Munchkins.

The sixth-floor entry area is mostly devoted to lockers and a glassed-in breakroom for off-duty cats, while the main playroom and cafe area is down on the fifth floor. The cafe is full of comfortable sofas as well as a bit of floor seating, and the cafe tables have built-in receptacles to keep drinks from being knocked over. Windows at the front of the room look out onto the busy streets of Shinjuku.

In addition to numerous coffee and tea variations and beer, the cafe serves an inexpensive food menu, with pastas and fried-rice omelettes priced at Y500 and desserts at Y300. Food is served in a separate glassed-in dining area adjoining the main playroom. Cat snacks - containers of appetizing-looking boiled chicken - are Y300, and a very popular option.

Given its convenient location in the heart of Shinjuku, Calico is popular with foreign as well as Japanese customers, and the staff are fluent in English.

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Tokyo Shinjuku Kabukicho / Cat cafe
Open 10am-9:15pm (LO) daily.
Cover charge is Y1000 for the first hour on weekdays, Y1200 on weekends. Longer packages are also available.
Average visit time: 60 minutes
Shinjuku-ku, Kabukicho 1-16-2, Fuji Bldg 6F.