Hanging out in the common room of our Osaka hostel one day we started talking to Italian Rik. Rik has been living in Osaka for a year and kindly offered to show us around town.
After a short stop at the post office (postcards coming your way people!), we went to find a very special cafe Rik had visited 7 month earlier…
From the outside it didn’t look like much, on the first floor tugged away over one of the million other Japanese shops.
Inside, as always, we were handed slippers.
… and the place was filled with cats. Rules were not to stress the cats by waking or picking them up. But other than that we could just hang out for an hour.
Cat cafés (or pet cafés in general) are ment for people who don’t have the time or the space for pets at home. It’s kind of brilliant if you think about it. But as always, the Japanese have taken it a step further. And so you can also go to a “cuddle café” and have a girl lie down and look you deep in the eyes for half and hour – You know, if you don’t have the time or the space for a girlfriend. You’re allowed to hug them and they are allowed to clean your ears (because Japan) but that’s all.
Anyways, back to the cats. I’m not sure if the cats were trained, or if they just really loved blankets. But when you got a blanket cats flogged around you and went to sleep. They were really tame and cuddly.
There must have been 12 – 15 cats just roaming around the 3 rooms and it was a surprisingly relaxing experience.
Returning to the hostel all excited we showed our pictures to the others and one girl replied: “Oh you haven’t seen the owl cafe?” Then she pulls out her phone and shows us pictures of her friend holding this tiny owl. I believe Isa’s comment went something like: “OH MY GOD WE HAVE TO GO WHEN CAN WE GO WE HAVE TO GO OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!?!”
Next morning we were scheduled to go to Kyoto, but with Rik’s help we found the Owl Family Cafe on the way. It was then that we were introduced to Bibi-chan:
This little girl is probably the cutest thing to have ever set foot (claw?) on this earth!
There were around 15 different owls in the cafe including some really big ones. Having never seen an owl before this was a really unique experience. Their plumage was extremely beautiful and surprisingly soft to touch.
As to weather or not the owls were being treated well, we don’t know. They seemed at peace with us and they had time to rest in between visitors and so there were some owls we were not allowed to touch. I really hope they let them out sometimes to fly but it’s hard to tell when everything is Japanese…
However they seemed healthy and this was really one of the highlights of our time in Osaka.