“While we are making your coffee, go pick out your favorite bunny!” The staff at the Akihabara bunny rabbit cafe chirped at Ryosuke and I during our first visit to the rabbit cafe.
It is difficult to explain why rabbit cafes are such a bit deal to someone who lives outside of Japan. Cat cafes are normal. Dog cafes could be normal. But rabbits? Rabbits are rare.
Cat café are hugely popular in Japan, especially Tokyo. If you think about it, it makes sense. Tokyo is cramped and expensive; a lot of the cheaper apartments don’t allow pets. And even if they did allow pets, a lot of people don’t have the time or energy to take care of a pet. The premise of the cat cafe (like I said, these things are everywhere) is to make a haven for cat lovers that are not able to own their own cats (due to physical, financial, time, or work-related constraints).
My first reaction when I heard about cat cafes was “I wonder if they have rabbit cafés…”
It turns out they do.
As people may have realized by now, I love Japan. Not unconditionally, of course, but I find living in Japan peaceful, engaging, and always interesting.
Rabbit cafes are among the (ever growing) list of things that make me love this country. Not necessarily because they exist, but because someone thought up the idea to make a place where you could sit, drink coffee, and pay by the hour to play with rabbits or other fluffy animals.
What is a rabbit café?
That is actually a legitimate question. A rabbit café is an establishment that allows you to play with rabbits. Similar to a cat café (basically the same thing except for with cats instead of rabbits), there is a set “per hour” charge.
For instance, in the “Candy Fruit” Rabbit Café in Akihabara (which, actually, now that I’m looking back, sounds like it could be very inappropriate – especially since it was in Akiba) charges:
|Cost (Monday – Friday)||Cost (Weekends+Holidays)|
|30 Minute “Pack”||1000 yen||1200 yen|
|60 Minute “Pack”||1600 yen||1800 yen|
|90 Minute “Pack”||2200 yen||2400 yen|
|Add 30 Minutes||800 yen||800 yen|
|Cut Veggies to feed Rabbits||200 yen||200 yen|
It’s a pretty sweet gig.
Anyone who spent any time with me from elementary school to the first year of college knows that I am obsessed with bunny rabbits. I love them. I love their cute little noses, their floppy ears, and the fact that they are neither anti-social (like a cat) nor overly affectionate (like a dog).
Ryosuke has promised to buy me a rabbit (since he doesn’t like cats and we both know we can’t handle a dog) once we’re all settled down. But that can take months.
In the mean time, I just go to the “Candy Fruit” rabbit café every time I crave the attention of a rabbit (which is more often than I would like to admit).
Why I love Rabbit Cafes:
First of all, I think rabbits are greatly underappreciated as pets. It makes me sad that I can count on one hand the number of friends I have that currently own or have in the past owned a bunny rabbit.
I am all for the publicity of bunny rabbits as a viable pet. I think that rabbit cafes do that excellently. I drug Ryosuke to the “Candy Fruit” rabbit café as a sort of “test” to see if he would be ok with owning a bunny rabbit. He was hesitant at first, but ended up falling in love with the little furry bunnies hopping around the rabbit café. Which, of course, just made me fall in love with him even more. Bunnies have that effect on me.
The rules of the rabbit cafe were simple (I’m not sure if all the rabbit cafes in Tokyo have the same rules, though):
- Only one rabbit is allowed out on the floor at a time (except for the cases when two rabbits get along well, and then you are allowed to have both of them out).
- Take off your shoes when you’re outside the pit and put your personal belongings on a shelf out of reach of the bunnies. When you’re playing with the rabbits in the pit, you are supposed to be wearing slippers provided by the café.
- You can drink as much tea and coffee as you want while you play with the rabbits.
- Photos are ok (but try not to take any of the staff)
- You can play with, pet, pick up, or cuddle with the bunnies as much as you want – but be gentle. Don’t yank at their ears or legs, trying to catch them.
- Whenever you get tired of the bunny, you can switch it out for another rabbit.
- Clean your hands with sanitizer before and after each bunny. Some of the male rabbits get competitive and will try to pee on your hands (or run away from you) if they smell the scent of another rabbit.
- It is ok to bring outside food and drinks (there was one guy in the corner chowing down on a bento lunch box while playing with the bunnies).
Why I really love Rabbit Cafes:
I love rabbits. I love playing with rabbits. I love holding rabbits.
Even if I am physically not able to own a rabbit, I like that I still have the chance to play with bunnies. Even if the rabbits at the café are easily spooked, like peeing on things (a lot of them are male, so each time you release one, it runs around peeing over where another male peed, marking his territory), and don’t particularly enjoy the company of humans. They’re still adorable.
I like rabbit cafes because I like playing with rabbits. And 1200yen an hour isn’t a bad price (especially since you can serve yourself as much coffee/tea as you want).
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