Travel experiences

Owls are not what they seem

There is an owl sanctuary in the heart of Akihabara, Tokyo’s manga and anime Mecca. There are cat, rabbit, and even reptile cafés in the city but Akiba Fukurou café stands out with its special inhabitants – around 36 owls, of different sizes and breeds, who meet visitors in half-asleep mode. The owls have very special names: Wizard, Peanuts, Squirrel, Shrimp, Snowman, Mr. President, Sweet Potato, Almond Caramel, Gorilla…

The owner, Yasu, takes the owls home at night to feed them. Flash photography and video filming are not allowed in the café. Each owl is secured by a string on its legs. This ensures that the birds won’t fly around during their interaction with visitors.

We visited Akiba Fukurou during our trip to Japan. E. loves owls and it happened to be his birthday at that time, no doubt this was the perfect gift. We spent half an hour admiring the birds and holding them. E.’s owl might have been in a special mood because soon after it was placed on his arm, it pooped on his sleeve. It’s considered good luck in some cultures if a bird poops on you, I consoled him. My owl was very restless and I soon needed help to get it off my head as I started feeling its large claws on my scalp.

The whole experience was magical (including the pooping and the claws), people were really enjoying these truly amazing creatures. Owls seemed very well taken care of and the environment was calm and inviting. At the end of the visit, Yasu took a complimentary souvenir photo of us. We received it both laminated and digitally, a really nice courtesy of Akiba Fukurou. Even though it’s called ”café”, drinks and food were not sold.  I appreciated this because many animal cafés require consumption.

To see this cuteness again is just one of very many reasons to come back to Tokyo and enjoy its wonders!


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