The friendly, outgoing staff go out of their way to make a visit to this pioneering owl cafe a fun experience for visitors. Even the ten-minute bird safety lecture, conducted with the help of a cute owl puppet, was surprisingly entertaining and had the crowd laughing.
After the lecture (which includes snippets of English) and the delivery of soft drinks or beer, visitors can enjoy forty minutes of quality bird time. The staff make sure everyone gets a chance to handle and interact with two or three birds during this time.
There are different rules of engagement for the various sizes of birds - for example small birds can sit happily on top of your head for photo ops, while medium-size birds can sit on your shoulder and large birds can rest on your arm after you've put on a leather glove or gauntlet.
Usually around six or eight birds are on active duty during each session, while the others (there are 24 in all) are on break - you can take pictures and engage in staring contests, but no touching.
Reservations can only be made in person at the shop, and there might be some waiting time on weekends, although we had only a minimal wait when we arrived early on a Sunday afternoon. The sign outside the shop says 'Owl Family' in English and 'Fukuro no Mise' ('Shop of Owls') in Japanese.