This is clearly the quality content you’ve subscribed for. I’ve slowly been ticking things off the ‘hipster to-do’ list in Tokyo and I regret nothing.
Yesterday I went to a hedgehog cafe – perhaps the first of it’s kind anywhere?! But that’s Japan for you; purveyors of niche crazes that travel far and wide. The country that gave life to concept of ‘cat cafes’. You heard it here first: hedgehog cafes are the next big thing…
I only spent 30 minutes in Harry Hedgehog Cafe and could have spent more but I had other activities planned! When you arrive, you pay upfront for a certain amount of time in the cafe – in 30 minute chunks at 1400 yen each – but I’m sure they wouldn’t have a problem with you wanting to extend your time once you’ve already paid.
I went for the 30 minute + hedgehog snack package which is 1630 yen. Since I was feeling a little peckish at this point, I initially wondered if the snack would be for me or the hedgehog (they also provide a free drink for their human guest) but when presented with a small tub of mealworms and tweezers, my question was answered. I’d rather wait for my own dinner.
Once you’ve paid and sanitised your hands, a member of staff will show you to your allotted hedgehog ‘tank’ (for want of a better word – it’s where the hedgehogs who are ‘on duty’ scurry about in pairs). As well as the tanks, there were a few larger seating areas. These seemed to be for parties of more than two people.
For those wondering if stroking creatures full of spikes is really a fun idea, the staff provide you with gloves so worry not. Once at your ‘tank’, they also show you how best to pick up the hedgehogs.
I found all the staff really friendly and helpful. They obviously care a lot about their hedgehogs (sadly the same can’t be said of other animal cafes) and also want their guests to have a good time. When I wasn’t sure how to pick up one particular hedgehog (I had made him/her jump when I touched them and didn’t want to scare them more), I asked a staff member and she came over and had a go but the hedgehog still seemed reluctant so she went to a different tank and picked up another hedgehog who happily sat in my hands.
I merrily fed my two hedgehogs mealworms while attempting to film it (this was before they decided I was no longer of interest to them). I’ll try and upload the video here. Another staff member kindly took photos of me with the hedgehogs (alas, the downside of solo travel) and even went above and beyond by getting some cute close-ups of the hedgehog’s nose!
I was also happy to see that there was a hedgehog ‘resting’ zone in the middle of the cafe, which consisted of two large tanks/enclosures and housed the majority of the hedgehogs. When the ‘on-duty’ hedgehogs have been held/petted for long enough, they go into this resting area and other hedgehogs take their place.
In all, Harry Hedgehog Cafe is a lovely welcoming place for everyone to experience something a bit different. Would definitely recommend!
There are a couple of different branches (have a look on their website) but this is the address of the one I went to: Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae 1-13-21. Or just put it into Google Maps and you’ll find it fine 🙂