You’ve heard of cat (neko) cafes, chances are you’ve heard of bunny (usagi) cafes, but did you know there is an Owl and Falcon cafe in Mitaka? (If you’re just here for decent bird pictures, they’re at the bottom).
Mitaka is a small Tokyo town and most well known among visitors as home to the Studio Ghibli museum (If you don’t know Ghibli, they’re the people who made ‘Spirited Away’, ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ and my personal favourite ‘My Neighbour Totoro’).
The Falcon cafe is easy to find as it’s just down the road from the Inokashira Park (where the Ghibli museum is; the route is very well signposted). I would credit another site here that helped with directions, but when I clicked to check the link it led me to a suspect “Canadian Pharmacy” :S
Unlike other animal cafes where you pay to spend time with your chosen cuddly fluff ball, this one was set up by the owner just because he loves birds and fancied opening a cafe. The falcons aren’t there to be petted, but instead regular patrons bring in their own pets after exercising them in the park nearby.
There is a room where the owner keep his own birds, and of course there are pictures below. The cafe is small, with room for 10 people, and they have an English menu available.
Like everywhere else on our trip so far, we’ve tried to speak Japanese to order, but the staff here are well prepared for foreign visitors. Food is surprisingly tasty given the humble appearance of the place, a meal is 900 yen (about £6.00 based on our current rate). Unlike other animal cafes there is no entry charge, so it’s actually quite cheap for the experience. We arrived slightly later than lunch and a few dishes had sold out.
The cafe is also a shop, and kitted out with all kinds of bird related books and imagery for people to enjoy. There was no pressure to hurry and get out, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.
Photos are OK, but understandably, you’re not allowed to use a flash. Approaching the birds with a camera provides a great socialising opportunity as other patrons watched us trying to capture this shy little fellow, while offering words of encouragement and shouting “CHI AN SU” (CHANCE) when he finally turned our way.
The cafe was well worth the trip in the rain, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is a bird lover, or just wants to eat somewhere with a different atmosphere when visiting this green corner of Tokyo.