Japan Adventures – Zoos and Cafes

Hello! Welcome to the first Japan recap post! I’ve decided to group the posts by similar experiences, otherwise I’ll go on forever. I do have quite a few photos to share in each post, but I also tried to stop myself from going too overboard.

In this post, I’ll be sharing about our trip to the Ueno Zoo, Kotori (Bird) Cafe and Hedgehog Cafe in Tokyo.

Ueno Zoo

This was the first place we officially visited in Tokyo. We spent way longer there than I thought we would! They had such a huge array of animals, way bigger than any other zoo I’ve visited in New Zealand. If you watched my highlights video, the first minute is basically devoted to the animals at the zoo. My personal favourite was discovering the Secretary Bird (pictured below). It is a wonderful creature.

As well as watching all the animals, we spent a decent time in the gift shop. Pretty much every souvenir shop we went into was filled with so much cute things. Every store I ever went into Japan was filled with cute (sometimes weird) things I wanted to buy. I did resist in this gift shop, but all the cute little animals were calling out to me.

ueno zoo 04

Themed foods are also something that will keep showing up in photos. The amount of themed things in general in Japan is incredible! Most places we visited had a mascot, and some kind of themed food.

ueno zoo 05

All in all, we spent a really nice day at the zoo. There were heaps of kids around as there was a school trip on as well. It definitely made the day more interesting. The size of the zoo itself is massive, and it’s also apparently the oldest zoo in Japan, opening to the public in the late 1880s. The zoo is most famous for the giant pandas. I did get to see them, but I couldn’t take a good photo due to the sheer amount of people around though!

Kotori Cafe

This was an impromptu place we visited. Across the road from this cafe was the Ghibli Museum. We arrived early so we decided to kill some time at the bird cafe. They had a huge selection of little birds!

bird cafe 05

Bird Cafe 01

I spent a lot of time with my face right up to the glass watching all the little birds do their thing. I tried to take lots of photos, but most turned out blurry. The birdies are fast! The cafe also had lots of cute little bird-themed desserts, which we had to try.

I can’t remember what these desserts were!! Little details escape me over time. You can bet they tasted as cute as they looked though! All in all, we had a great time chilling with the birds, eating some sweets. You could pay to enter the rooms with the birds, but that made me nervous as I didn’t want to disturb them! For some reason, they also had this random parrot mask which we all had turns wearing.

bird cafe 04

Now onto another animal cafe we visited in Tokyo!

Harry Hedgehog Cafe

This was the cafe that I was the most excited for. We visited Harajuku with this cafe in mind. When we got there, it was already quite busy, but they found a space for us. The little homes for the hedgehogs were fairly spacious for the little guys which was nice. Some were super sleepy, so I just watched one little guy curl up in a ball and sleep.

hedgehog cafe 01

One kept waking up when we offered him a treat. We had dried mealworms which we could offer them. They seem to really love those! We were shown how to gently pick up the hedgehogs, so we all had a go holding one of these cute little animals.

hedgehog cafe 02

Some were quite active and would look around at us and their environment as we held them. The one I picked up was awake at first, but then I guess he wanted to go back to sleep.

hedgehog cafe 03

All in all, this was just the cutest experience I’ve had in my life. Hedgehogs are so adorable, and being given the chance to actually hold them was amazing!!

Bonus Owl

So for this last one, we didn’t actually visit the Owl Cafe. I do wish we did though! But when we came across the girls with the owls (who were advertising for an owl cafe nearby), we had been walking around all day, and I really wanted to get back to our hotel (which was a 30 minute train ride away at that point). Back to the owl. It was so mini and beautiful!!


The owl also yawned at one point, and I swear my heart skipped a beat.

owl 02

All of these animal interactions were highlights of our trip to Japan! I’m sure there’ll start catching on with the rest of the world. It’s always such a fun (and cute) experience!

Previous Japan Posts:

Tomorrow I’ll be talking about our visit to Ghibli Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science and Meiji Shrine.


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