Meet with lovable reptiles in Yokohama
In Yokohama, you can have a tea party with some unique guests: reptiles.
At Anettaisakan, or subtropical teahouse, aka Reptiles Café, you can make friends with various snakes, turtles and other reptiles while sipping on some Chinese tea.
My wife and I visited the café, only a 30-minute train ride from Yokosuka Naval Base, for a departure from the standard cat or owl cafes of which there are plenty in the Yokohama and Tokyo area.
Ever since our daughter brought a Russian tortoise home eight years ago, we have been charmed by his lovable gestures, slow life and the cute large black eyes, and are now big turtle fans.
Housed in an old building on busy Isezakicho Street, the café may not be very easy to find. But, a large colorful signboard with shop title in green kanji letters over a stairway will guide you to Anettaisakan.
As soon as we pushed on the shop’s front door, the humid and hot air mixed with a slight smell of aquarium tanks surrounded us and led us into a subtropical world.
The interior reminded me of laboratory or science room. Glass from ceiling to floor encased the café’s reptiles as guests surrounded and peeked in. The shop interior is made up of 10 tables, large glass cases for green iguana, large snakes and aquatic reptiles, along with a separate space for pastured tortoises and lizards.
Sixteen different types of reptiles, like an African spurred tortoise, European tortoise, Brazil rainbow boa, leopard lizard, green iguana, and tiger salamander, all live at Anettaisakan, according to the café signboard.
After looking around in the room to check out large iguana, snakes, lizards and geckos, we got into the separate space where lizards and tortoises were let to roam free. We quickly made friends with the giant African spurred tortoise and were able to hold him.
A lizard jumped off from the branch onto the ground near me. The lizard looked at me while shaking his head up and down, as if he was bowing. The gesture, along with his large black eyes were really cute.
According to a shop staffer, we can bring our reptile pet in the café, but dogs and cats are not allowed. If you do decide to bring your scaly friend, make sure to keep an eye out and not lose them. “In case your pet would escape into the shop and can’t find it, we are going to employee it as our shop’s staffer,” the Anettaisakan employee said with chuckles.
There is a one drink minimum purchase for a seat at your reptile tea party. The menu offers various hot or iced Chinese teas, such as oolong tea, herb tea, jasmine tea for 900 – 1200 yen ($8-11) along with cakes and sweets for 200 – 500 yen ($1.50 – 4.25).
I ordered iced rooibos tea and my wife ordered hot herb tea both for 900 yen each. My tea was delicious and came served in a sleek glass mug with domed glass lid which sort of looked like a beaker. The cube inside was frozen iced tea to ensure my drink wouldn’t get watered down in the warm room.
There is no time limit for visiting with the shop’s reptiles, so take your time and enjoy the warmth and the company. To avoid any health concerns, pregnant women and preschoolers are discouraged from visiting the café.
Make some new reptile friends and have a refreshing tea at Anettaisakan, if you’re looking to change it up from the typical cute pet cafes you can find all over the city. Though slimy and scaly, the new reptilian friends you’ll make are sure to endear you and make for an interesting tea party.
Hours: Thu – Mon, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Close Tue and Wed)
Location: 8-133 [2F] Chojamachi, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Pref.
URL: www.reptilescafe.net/ (Japanese)
Tel: 045-263-4015 (Japanese)
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