One thing I always wanted to do in Japan was to visit a cat cafe. So we looked up on the Internet if one was close to our hotel in Shinjuku and we found Cat Cafe Calico on the North-East side of the station. It is on the fifth and sixth floor of a big building and they have about 20 cats that you can play with.
Once we arrived, the cashier asked us to take off our shoes, sanitize our hands and place our bags in a locker. We then got given some slippers to put on and went inside the cafe and first started to look at the cats. We then started to stroke a few, that were sitting or walking close to us – but they were not interested in us. They seem to get a lot attention during the day that they do not seek company, they were happy to walk past and ignore us.
We went on a Monday afternoon thinking that it would not be too busy and only a few people would be there, but in fact, there were about 25 people in the cafe, some seemed to be couples dating others seemed to be a group of friends. There were a few single people, men and women, who seemed attached to one or two specific cats and spent most of the time stroking them. They probably visit regularly so the cats know them already.
There was one guy specifically who seemed to connect with the cats immediately and he knew them by their names. He bought some cat food and of course, suddenly all the cats were coming to him. It was nice to watch him play with the cats, some even jumping on his back when he was crawling on all fours – but also a little sad. I’ve read a lot that in an increasingly childless and aging nation, cat cafes fill a void. The more fortunate Japanese might have enough space to own a dog and maybe someone looking after their pet. For those who live with long work hours, no-pet apartments and work-related travel, there are cat cafes.
It was an interesting experience and nice to watch – but I prefer stroking cats that actually enjoy your attention and purr. The ones in this cat cafe had enough attention already and were not looking for company. Therefore we left after our hour was up (of course, you can stay as long as you like – but the fees are charged per hour).
- The Cat Cafe Calico is open from 11:00 am – 5:30 am (open everyday, no holidays)
- The first hour is 1,000 yen and after that 150 yen for each additional 15 minutes. Or you could go for a package deal with 2 hours for 1,500 yen, 3 hours for 1,900 yen etc.
- Here is the link to the website Cat Cafe Calico – Japanese only
- The address is 5th & 6th floor in the Fuji building on 1-16-2 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku