If you like the idea of cat cafes, you have to read about the new kind of theme cafes popping up around Tokyo:
In particular, you need to know about Tori no Iru Cafe. In Japanese, “Tori no Iru Cafe” basically means “The Cafe Where There Are Birds.”
Tori no Iru Cafe: Tokyo Bird Cafe
Indeed, there are birds, many, many birds at Tori no Iru Cafe, which opened in 2012. Not to mention, there are many people as well! Tori no Iru Cafe’s popularity has grown so much that it’s not uncommon to wait 20 minutes to get inside.
I couldn’t get in on a weekend, but did manage to visit Tori no Iru Cafe on a weekday evening. The cafe was a bird lover‘s paradise. Several owls sat in a large room surrounded by glass, visible from the outside, parakeets and cockatiels flew about in cages mounted in the walls, and a well-behaved caique sat on a perch near the cash register.
Before you start worrying, no, none of the birds were flying around freely. Except for the caique, the birds were all in large cages. You won’t have to worry about anyone overhead bombing your coffee. This brings me to the next subject: the cafe’s food.
The Bird Cafe Food
Since Tori no Iru Cafe is indeed a cafe, I ordered a milk tea (600 yen; about 6 USD) and mini cheese pizza (500 yen; about 5 USD) to start. These were of course delicious, if a little expensive, but anyone who knows me will know that I was especially looking forward to dessert. I’d scoped out the sweets beforehand on the website and ordered the one the bird cafe desserts: a rare cheese cake shaped like the face of a cockatoo named Pute.
The cafe is a little dark, so I embarrassed myself by taking about a dozen pictures of the bird-face cake. But can you blame me? Bird cakes are rare, and even rarer are cockatoo cakes.
You should also see the menu on their website; there’s a coffee jelly shaped like the face of an owl named Ban.
After finishing my cake, I wander around the small cafe, telling the birds how cute they are (I’m obnoxious). The cafe’s website calls all the feathered residents “bird staff.”
Petting the Cafe’s Owls
Finally, before leaving, I just had to pet the cafe’s resident owls. The owls were kept in a separate room surrounded by glass, visible from both the inside and the outside of the cafe. Entering the “owl room” costs an extra 500 yen (about 5 USD as of Dec. 2013). Once you sanitize your hands and enter the room, you have about five minutes to freely pet the owls. At first I felt a little shy (only I would feel shy in front of birds), but I couldn’t resist patting a bunch of them on the head. At one point, I used one of the leather gloves provided to allow one owl to perch on my arm.
Near the end of my time in the owl room, an owl started pecking at my feet. Although it was a little annoying, somehow this destroying-of-my-shoes endeared me to the owls even further.
I was sad to say goodbye to the birds, but it was getting late. I took one last picture from the outside.
If you’re visiting Tokyo, of course you should visit Tori no Iru Cafe. The staff are kind, the food is good, and the birds are cute. Let me know if you go!
Tori no Iru Cafe Details
Website: Tori no Iru Cafe [Japanese]
Weekdays (except Wednesday), 1pm – 8pm
Weekends, 11am – 8pm
Seven Star Mansion, 1st floor
2-6-7 Kiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Kiba Station (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, 200 meters going straight from Exit 4, along Eitaidoori (street))
Monzennakacho Station (Tokyo Metro Oedo Line, Tozai Line, 10 minutes walking from Exit 2, along Eitaidoori (street))
Would you visit or have you visited a bird cafe?