Owl No Mori: This café is quite a hoot

by Nano Betts
www.travelelsewhere.org

How many of you have read Harry Potter and wondered what it would feel like to have an owl as a pet? I know I certainly did, and thanks to Tokyoites’ obsession with animal cafés I got to find it out. Yes, you guessed it right, I am talking about the owl café.

As I emerged from the elevator on the 5th floor of a random building in Akihabara, I immediately found myself in nothing less than a forest. Maple leaves, sound of trickling water, Halloween decorations, very dim lights and eclectic music – I knew I was in for a therapeutic experience.

After receiving a brief instruction from a very nice hostess at the front desk – no flash photography, no sudden movements, no touching unless allowed, one free drink included in the ticket price – you are given an hour to spend with the birds. A tiny room inside was filled with approximately two dozen owls of different breeds, shapes and sizes. Some of the species included barn owls, eagle-owls, scops and tawny owls. I even got to see several hatchlings, all fluffy and adorable and sleepy.

Majority of them sit perched on little bars (sadly, with a leash) in a verdant foliage. Some were snoozing and cooing, while others stayed wide awake and alert gawking at visitors with grumpy-looking expressions. To be honest, I have always had a mental fear of owls and didn’t think I would handle being so close to them, let alone pet or hold one.

Indeed you are allowed to hold many of them. Feeling strongly intimidated I opted for smaller breeds, both of which turned out to be incredibly cute and cuddly little critters. Except, the affection was not quite mutual because the white one – Abiko – pooped on me and then looked at me with totally innocent eyes.

Overall, it was a lovely and memorable experience. This place certainly offers a soothing respite from the buzz and neon glare of Akiba’s Electric Town. I left invigorated and completely freed from my fear of owls. I was also glad to see that each and every one of them was treated with great love and care by the staff.

Owl No Mori
Address:
Soto-Kanda 4-5-8, 5F, Akihabara
Website: http://2960.tokyo/

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