Neko no Te: Chiba

"Hand of the Cat" is one of the most casual cat cafes we've ever been. When we asked how many animals were in residence, we were told the number was around fifteen or twenty, as if it was simply impossible to keep an accurate count. And indeed during the hour we were there, cats we had never seen before would occasionally slip in from other, hidden rooms, stake out a comfortable spot and proceed to take a nap. It's that kind of place.

Occupying a very lived-in former residential apartment, the public part of the cafe contains two connected playrooms and a small entrance area where arriving visitors wash their hands and exchange their shoes for cat slippers. You can pay as little as Y600 (for thirty minutes), but it's worth it to upgrade to the Y1400 Harem Set - it gets you one hour of cat time, plus an iced cafe latte or other drink, and a decent-sized plate of cat snacks.

The snack plate, a pile of boiled chicken cut up into bite-sized strips, is presented to you with some fanfare as the staff member bangs on the side of the plate with a spoon. After that you're free to distribute morsels of chicken as you see fit to the suddenly attentive crowd.

After snacking, many of the cats like to return to their naps, so make the most of the attention while you can. We made friends with a very outgoing Sphynx cat, but most of the other residents seemed content to receive snacks and pose for photos. The best time for cat interaction is probably first thing in the morning when the cafe opens.

Neko no Te is located on the fourth floor of an office building that houses a restaurant and a discount shop on the first floor. There's not much signage at ground level, so it can be easy to miss.

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Neko no Te
Chiba / Cat cafe
Open 11am-8pm daily.
Cover charge Y600 for 30 minutes, Y800 for one hour. Drinks and cat snacks are extra.
Average visit time: 30-60 minutes
Kashiwa City, Chiba, Kashiwa 3-7-21, Shiina Bldg 401.
Kashiwa station