My Experience Visiting a Hedgehog Café in Tokyo, Japan

My Experience Visiting a Hedgehog Café in Tokyo, Japan

The usual animal cafés will let you snuggle up with cats, dogs or bunny rabbits but this café in Japan allows you to cosy up with...hedgehogs!

Let’s start with some fun facts about hedgehogs. There are about 17 hedgehog species in the world, with each ranging from 10 to 30 centimetres long. They have around 5,000 to 7,000 spikes (also known as quills), which they shed and replace yearly. Hedgehogs have poor eyesight but what they lack in that department, they make up for in hearing and smell. A baby hedgehog is called a ‘hoglet’ and a bunch of them are referred to as an ‘array of hedgehogs’.

And above all, they’re unbelievably adorable.

Japan is home to countless animal cafés and, believe it or not, a hedgehog café is one of them! There are a couple of hedgehog cafés dotted around Tokyo so I decided to drop by one of them in the Harajuku district. Called the Harry Hedgehog Café, the café offers a warm and inviting space for guests to interact and find out more about these little creatures.

The café is admittedly a little pricey (as with all novel experiences), with a half-hour session costing JPY1,400 (~SGD17). This comes bundled with a welcome drink as well. You can also opt for a full hour but I personally feel that a half-hour duration is more than enough.

After making payment, I was ushered to a seating area alongside the ‘hedgehog trenches’. Depending on who you visit with – if you’re in a party of two, you’ll be seated at a bar counter of sorts; if you visit in a group of more than two, however, you’ll be seated at a sofa area. Every person will be given a pair of gloves – the hedgehog quills are not extremely sharp but it’s always good to err on the side of caution.

One of the staff members came over and gave us detailed instructions on how to interact with the hedgehogs: always pick them up with both hands – cupping them from their stomach area – and never carry the hedgehogs away from the trenches so that there won’t be a risk of dropping the hedgehogs on the ground.

And the fun begins! The hedgehogs feel incredibly soft to the touch, feeling somewhat like a nice little marshmallow.

hedgehog cafe japan

They might even take a nap whilst snuggled up on your hand!

hedgehog cafe japan

When resting on their backs, the hedgehogs take on a rather cheeky sort of look, with some even giving you a wink if they feel like it. They aren’t camera-shy and will happily pose for lots of pictures. However, do take note not to force the hedgehogs onto their backs if they’re not willing.

hedgehog cafe japan

They look cute even from their sides as well! Do handle these creatures with care; initially, it’s best to let them crawl over your hands or lie in your palms for some time so that they will get accustomed to your presence.

I had to constantly remind myself not to bring the hedgehogs away from the trenches. If you wish to take photos with them, simply lean forward or angle yourself so that your hands (holding the hedgehog) are always above the trenches. After all, (hedgehog’s) safety first!

I also purchased some dried mealworms to feed to the hedgehogs as a snack. You can choose to include the snack into your entry fee, bringing the total up to JPY1,630 (~SGD20). To enjoy this bundle, you have to indicate your interest at the counter before you even begin your session. Otherwise, an extra hedgehog snack purchased halfway through your experience will set you back about JPY540 (~SGD6).

So would I recommend a visit to the HARRY Hedgehog Café in Tokyo, Japan? Absolutely. All guests have to do is to keep in mind that these creatures, however adorable, are still living animals. It’s great fun to interact with them but do take special care not to alarm or frighten the hedgehogs with any sudden movements. If you show the hedgehogs that you’re of no threat, they’ll be more than happy to snuggle up to you and pose for plenty of pictures!

Just when I thought Japan couldn’t get more unique, it does. Put a visit to HARRY Hedgehog Café in your Tokyo itinerary and meet the hedgehogs for yourselves!

HARRY Hedgehog Café

Address: Jingumae 1-13-21, Shibuyaku, Tokyo
Opening hours: 12pm-8pm daily, with the reception open until 7pm
Visit the
website  for more branches and information

About Author

E-lyn Tham
E-lyn Tham

Having a strong conviction that getting lost is just another adventure in itself, E-lyn takes particular delight in wandering stranger lands, inhibitions and fears thrown asunder. There’s so much left in the world to see, and there’s nothing she would like better than to spend her days dreaming whimsical, thinking adventure, and laughing curious.

CLICK TO SEE MORE ARTICLES BY E-lyn Tham

Comments


Related Posts