The owl cafe Fukuro no Mise in Tokyo is crowded even on the weekdays, despite its tucked away location. Down a side street across from Tsukishima Station, the owl cafe is given away by the owl curtains and the people milling around, waiting to get in. I couldn’t believe my luck that I lived close enough to bike not only to Tori no Iru Cafe (a bird cafe), but also to this owl cafe!
According to Nikkei, Fukuro no Mise was opened in October 2012 as a way for the owner, Mr. Ishikawa, to share his passion while also making a living. He used to walk around town with his pet owl, and the excited reactions of those around him gave him the idea to open an owl cafe. His idea has proven very popular, as evidenced by the difficulty in getting a spot at the cafe.
The Owl Cafe Entry System
Entry into the owl cafe goes by a system where the day is broken up into several one-hour time slots. Only a set number of people are allowed to enter for that hour. The “exclusiveness” makes the shop even more enticing. In addition, you can’t make reservations to the owl cafe in advance; you have to show up and hope that there are some spots open.
After being turned away no less than two times, there was finally a spot in the last time slot of the evening.
Upon entering the owl cafe with others in your time slot, which lasts about an hour, you are greeted by many large round avian eyes and plenty of owl figurines. In fact, at first, the real owls are difficult to distinguish from the toys.
The Owl Cafe Cover Fee and Rules
Before mingling with the owls, you are asked to sit down and order a drink. Small snacks are freely available, but everyone has to order at least one drink. Most of the drinks cost 1000 yen (Jan. 21, 2015: Apparently the cost has gone up to 2,200 a drink!), which seemed a bit expensive. I thought of it as a sort of a cover charge to make myself feel better about a milk tea that costs almost as much as I make an hour.
Once you’ve gotten your drink, the rules of the cafe are explained to you. No flash photos. Don’t pick up the baby owls. No, you can’t take any of the owls home (unless you pay the 100,000 yen (~1000USD) or more they’re going for). Et cetera. Listen closely – getting kicked out of an owl cafe would be pretty depressing.
The Owl Cafe Owls!
Baby owls. Nothing in the world is cuter than baby owls. After the owl cafe explanation was over, I rushed over to give the baby owls the sanctioned pat on the head. The rules said nothing about hugging the owls, but I resisted.
Equally as world-shattering, you are allowed to have the adult owls perch on your arm or shoulder. Great horned owls seem much larger when they are inches away from your face.
The shop’s name, “Fukuro no Mise,” means literally “The Cafe of Owls,” and the cafe had no shortage of them!
The cafe has low lighting, the perfect environment for relaxing with the owls, who were absolutely delightful and perfectly calm. According to the Nikkei article about owl cafes, the owner reportedly buys the owls from a breeder within Japan and hand-raises them himself. So, even if you’ve never been close to an owl, you can relax in knowing that they are used to people.
The hour was over before I realized it.
Fukuro no Mise Owl Cafe Details
If you visit the owl cafe, I do recommend knowing Japanese or bringing a friend who does since all of the rules are given in Japanese. The cafe reportedly has an English rule guide and also has an English-speaker come in on Fridays.
Fukuro no Mise Official Site [Japanese]
Fukuro no Mise Official Facebook [Japanese]
(Check the website for details about unexpected closed days)
Wednesday, 2pm – 6pm
Thursday, 2pm – 6pm
Friday, 2pm – 9pm
Saturday, 12 (noon) – 9pm
Sunday, 12 (noon) – 6pm
Closed Mondays, Tuesdays
Reserve a spot by going to directly to the cafe. Can only make same-day reservations. Cannot make reservations by phone.
Tōkyō-to Chūō-ku Tsukishima 1-27-9
Tsukishima Station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Toei Oedo Line, 1 minute walk from Exit 10)
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Thank you so much to the incredibly talented Quentin Thompson for giving me permission to use his photos. In the owl cafe photo gallery on Quentin’s website, you can view more of his fantastic photos from the Tokyo owl cafe in Tsukishima.
26 thoughts on “Owl Cafe of Tokyo: Fukuro no Mise”
Hi. thanx for an interesting article.
we are going to Japan during Xmas and new year holidays.. is it worth it? lot of tourists at this time of the year? is there anything to do in Tokyo during holidays? really it would be sad to come there if everything is closed =)
Thank you for reading! I’ll try to answer your questions.
Christmas is known as a holiday for couples in Japan, so most places shoukd be open around Christmas. In fact, there may be some Christmas time events that you may be interested in, such as large Christmas light displays.
However, around Dec 27 to Jan 4 (New Year holidays), you may run into a few bumps. I am unsure about foreign tourists, but most Japanese workers have this holiday off. Many families will use this opportunity to go see family in another prefecture or take a trip. Either way, trains and such may be crowded. Additionally, you should make sure to book your hotels very early. The cheaper hotels may already be fully booked now.
Also, make sure to check on what places are closed for New Year. For example, Ueno Zoo is closed Dec 29 thru Jan 1. Also note that it isn’t uncommon for family-run restaurants to close during this period. Temples and shrines will be open but will be crowded – it is a tradition to go pray around the New Year.
However, many larger shops will be open and you can even buy ‘lucky bags’, which are a New Year tradition mystery grab bag where you can get high quality items for really cheap.
With a little extra planning and understanding, you can enjoy your Christmas/New Year vacation to Tokyo 🙂
Hi there! We will be in Tokyo on the 2nd and 3rd of January next year. Do you think the cafe will be open? I know that lots of ppl going away at that time….
They website doesn’t seem to say about new year holidays for 2015/2016. However, in 2014/2015, the cafe was closed Dec 31 and opened again on Jan 3, so you may have a chance if you go on the 3rd. Again, though, nothing has been posted about this year’s holidays. New Year holidays can be challenging for travel in Japan because of all the shop closures.
Planning to visit the place alone this yr Aug. Will it be easy to find etc? 🙂 Thanks for all the detailed information! ^^ It really helps a lot!!!
Sounds very exciting! I had a little trouble spotting it at first, but bringing a map should help. The shop has blueish curtains with little owls.
Are you an escaped owl or a human who was able to resist the urge to stay at the cafe forever?
Thanks for the post–this is what originally convinced me to go here!
BTW – It’s now 2,200 yen per person. It seems like the price increases every couple of months now, ha.
I just posted a review on the cafe: http://www.travelcaffeine.com/fukuro-no-mise-owl-cafe-review/ (I linked to your post and map in there.)
Really fun restaurant, although I do question how humane it is to the owls. (Not to be a debbie downer or anything…)
I’m so happy to hear that this helped! Also, thanks for the update on the price.
Wow, 2,200 yen? That’s one expensive cup of tea 😉 I’ll update the post with that information.
I completely get where you are coming from about the treatment of owls. Personally, I really enjoy visiting bird cafes, but part of me still wonders if this is one of the many ways the human race does animals wrong.
Thanks again for taking the time to post!
They only accept cash. Luckily I had some on me 😀
The experience was so surreal and time flew by so fast!
Thanks for the report! Glad you had some cash on hand. Time really does fly when having tea with winged critters 😉
Looks awesome! Do they accept Visa or any other credit cards? I plan on going tomorrow. Many thanks!
It’s a really fun experience! Were you able to go?
I’m afraid there’s not much info on the web about payment or contact info for the restaurant; it’s usually safer to take cash in Japan when in doubt. Did you have any issues?
so they dont allow FLASH photos but do they allow photos to be taken without flash? might sound like a silly question but sometimes they say no flash photography and they really mean no photography period lol
That’s a completely valid question! At Fukuro no Mise, flash photos and (I think) video recording are not allowed, but photos (non-flash) are completely fine.
I had rough time trying to understand why the hell address of place near Tsukishima sends me to Kiba station. Finally figured it out, it’s just the same as address of Tori no Iru cafe. So, please update it with correct address:
Also, just to confirm. You can’t make reservations by the phone, but can you show up and make a reservation for the future time slot of the same day (if I correctly understood your previous comment)?
Thanks for letting me know about the address mix-up! I’ve fixed it and also added a link to the owl cafe Facebook site.
Yep, just as you said: they don’t take phone reservations but you can reserve a spot for later in the day by showing up at the cafe on that day. If I remember correctly, we showed up around 6pm on a Thursday and took one of the two person reservations for the 8pm time slot.
Was it hard to get a time slot?? Is it as busy as people are saying? I’m going to Tokyo tomorrow so I hope to go! Thanks for your info!
I’m afraid my reply may be a day late, but it was a little difficult getting a time slot. We went on three different days before we could finally get a time slot. I think weekends are probably next to impossible. I hope you’re able to get in!
What time did you head over to the cafe? I want to know what time is good in order to be able to get a time slot!
We headed over to the cafe on a Thursday evening around 6:30pm and reserved a two-person entry for the 8:00pm slot, I believe. We then wandered around the Tsukishima monjayaki street to kill time before going in. I hope you’re able to get a slot!
As I am a bird lover and especially owls, I’ll be definitely visiting this café when I’m in Tokyo in about two weeks! 🙂
The owl cafe is really one of a kind. Be sure to take lots of photos! Let me know how it is 🙂
I visited the cafe today. I LOVED it! I took a much of photos which I would like to share with the cafe. Unfortunately, I have no way to contact them. If you could share this link with them (and feel free to use the photos yourself!) that would be great: http://www.quejaytee.com/Animals/Fukuro-no-Mise/
Thanks for your comment.
Your photos make me want to go visit the cafe again! They’re really gorgeous and really capture the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the cafe doesn’t seem to have any sort of e-mail or online message contact info made public. If I go again, I’ll be sure to pass them the URL for your photos and give them your regards.
Also, I’d love to use your photos with this post! Should I link to the URL you provided, or do you have another site you’d prefer be linked? Thank you so much for your generous offer!