Tokyo a pet-lover's paradise
Enjoying the sights in Japan doesn’t have to be without your furry friend. As the weather gets warmer and you plan your spring and summer travels, please keep in mind that there are many pet-friendly places in this country.
Whether you are enjoying a shopping day with the family, exploring an a famous mouse’s amusement park or one of the many pet-friendly cafes in Tokyo, your four-legged friend is more than welcomed.
A ball at the mall
Machida Grandberry Mall
ADDRESS: 3-4-1 Turukawa, Machida-shi, Tokyo
One of our family’s favorite places to spend a weekend is Grandberry Mall. Located in Machida, it is an easily accessible hour drive from metro Tokyo. This outdoor outlet mall not only has some of our favorite stores and restaurants - Old Navy, Lego Store, Starbucks, Cold Stone Creamery - it is also a gathering place for dogs … and cats.
The dogs are everywhere. I mean everywhere! A social hotspot for many dogs and owners is Starbucks, which happens to be located next to a pet store. Even if you don’t have a pet with you, it’s a fun place to sip on a drink and pet watch.
I’ve seen dogs of all shapes and sizes at Grandberry, from tiny Chihuahuas and Maltese to large Great Danes and New Foundlands. And don’t worry, most pets are on leashes, or in a stroller or basket.
Almost all restaurants at the mall, including McDonalds, have outdoor seating where pets are more than welcome. And some stores welcome pets, if you carry them in. Grandberry Mall is a great place go, with or without a pet.
Mickey Mouse's dog house
Tokyo Disney Sea
ADDRESS: 1-13 Mihama Urayasu-shi, Chiba
If you’re in Japan, you have to visit Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. And if you do, you don’t need to leave your pet home. That’s right, Tokyo Disneyland offers a service where you can drop your pet off while you enjoy the park. You can leave your dog or cat at the Pet Club 30 minutes before to the opening, and you can pick it up 30 minutes after closing.
However, checking your pet in can be a lengthy process. It is recommended that you fill out the proper forms and have all the documentation ready before arriving at the park. The Pet Club is a great option for those who don’t have someone to look after pet, or who simply don’t want to leave their pet behind.
Doggy treats and eats
ADDRESS: 2-10-28 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Therettare some great sites around Tokyo to take in while you’re strolling with your dog. And when you and your dog have worked up an appetite, you can break bread together. Literally.
Spend the day sightseeing in Nakameguro, famous for its tunnel and red bridge. Your family and four-legged friend can break for lunch at Snobish Babies, a high-end café and clothing store that caters to canines.
This café serves up serves curries, rice dishes and crepes for you, and also offers a dog menu for your cuddly companion. You can also buy all the dog-wear you’d like, or simply sit outside and watch pets dressed in their best attire strut their stuff alongside their owners.
After lunch you could take a walk to the nearby Saigoyama Park to finish off your day.
You'll like Yoyogi
ADDRESS: 2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya-ku
Arms Burger Restaurant
ADDRESS: 5-64-7 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Another great area to go explore with your pet is Yoyogi Koen in Shibuya-ku. This a gorgeous park with fountains and forest areas that is located right next to the famous Meiji Jingu Shrine.
At Yoyogi Koen, you can relax in the wide open field on the north end of the park, or take your pet to the designated dog run area that is separated into two parts, one for smaller dogs and other for larger ones.
And, of course, there are quite a few restaurants located right outside the park that allow pets. Tarlum is a three-story café that allows you to eat with your dog on the first floor. Here you can order an American-style breakfast featuring bacon, eggs, French toast and pancakes. They serve set courses for lunch and for dinner they offer oysters on the half shell, chowder soups and seafood platters. And, of course, you can order off the dog menu for your hungry pet.
Outside the west side of the park is Arm’s Burger Restaurant. This restaurant is kid, and yes, dog friendly! Arm’s is best known its delicious American-style burgers, but also serve up specialties like its Popeye Burger, loaded with spinach and bacon. Another options is Bondi Café Beach Park. This Australian surf themed restaurant serves pizzas from a wood oven, soups and sandwiches.
Show up at Showa
ADDRESS: 3173 Midori-cho Tachikawa City Tokyo
Showa Koen near Yokota Air Base is one of my all-time favorite parks. This massive park, located on the land of a former U.S. air base, is stocked with ponds, forest areas, Japanese gardens and spectacular seasonal flower and tree displays, including amazing cherry blossom blooms in late March and hills of poppies that bloom in late May.
Your pets can enjoy the park as well, as long as they are on a leash, unless they are running wild in the designated dog park area.
This park is absolutely enormous. You can rent bikes and ride along a path that takes you around the whole park, which includes a BBQ area, miniature golf course, a massive open field, several themed play areas for kids and a huge water park that is open in the summer.
I have visited this park during every season and found it stunning all year round. And there are plenty of places to fill your belly while exploring this beautiful park. One of my favorite little dessert stops is the ice cream stand near the Sunagawa Gate entrance. They have a seasonal cherry blossom ice cream with bits of actual cherry blossom petals in it. They serve other favorites, including a mochi-flavored ice cream.
Pet a pet
With Bunny Rabbit Café
ADDRESS: 1-7-1 Hanagawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo
There are also several sit down restaurants, some cafes, tearooms and food stands in the park. This is just a great place to spend the day with family, friends … and pet.
Now, I know some pet lovers reading this article who don’t own one might be feeling blue or left out. Well, read on, because Japan has places for folks who are currently without a pet: Pet Cafes.
Becoming more popular each year, Pet Cafes allow you to come in and hang out with different animals. Could be rabbits, birds, cats, you name it!
There are many of these places in Tokyo, including the Cat Café in Asakusa Nekoen. Here you can visit and pet adorable cats. The entrance fee for an adult is 800 yen, while children can get in for 700 yen. You can also order beverages and snacks and eat them in the little cafe area during your hour-long session.
This definitely is a fun place to visit and bring your children to if you don’t have a cat or pet. And if you are wondering, the cats at Cat Café were abandoned by their owners but are completely domesticated. They are also looking for foster homes.
Rent a pet
ADDRESS: 2F Y’s Park Bldg. 1-45-2 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Dog lovers without a four-legged friend, here’s an idea for you: rent one! Yes, in Japan you can rent a dog! All you need to do it go to a dog café like Dog Heart in Yoyogi Hachiman, where you not only hang out with your furry friends, but also take them out for an hour-long walk.
When I visited Dog Heart, I was greeted by over 10 really cute and cuddly dogs. They had a labrador retriever who wanted all the attention to himself, many poodles that where very playful, and two beagles who seemed completely bored but were super adorable with floppy ears and big doe eyes.
And, yes, I love dogs and really enjoyed hanging out with so many puppies at one time! You have the option of a 30-minute dog petting session for 950 yen or an hour-long session for 1,550 yen.
Or, for 3,500 yen you can take a pooch for an hour-long walk. After filling out a waiver, you are given a bag full of necessities that includes water, poop bags and a mat for you to sit down on. The location is very convenient because Yoyogi Park is just a few blocks away.
There are so many places to explore in and around Tokyo. Make it an even more unique experience and bring you pet with you … or rent one. Just get out of the house and explore this great country.