Owl Cafes… a hoot of a time

When I came to Japan and heard about the cat cafes I wasn’t interested. After all, why would I pay to spend time with cats when I can see them on the street? What did spark my interest was the owl cafes. When I heard you could go to a cafe, touch and possibly hold the owls, I couldn’t control my excitement. I’m not a huge bird person, but since the release of Harry Potter I have been somewhat interested in seeing owls.

And so I set myself the challenge – find an owl cafe and meet Hedwig’s cousin.

The first time I tried to succeed in my owl adventure, it was a Monday. One thing to note about Japan is that most of the tourist attractions are closed Mondays. I was new to Japan and didn’t know this national secret,  and so when we finally found the Family Owl Cafe, knocked on a closed dark door trying to find the cafe, and were told that the owls were on ‘holidays’, it was a huge disappointment.

I wouldn’t make the same mistake again. I planned to be in Osaka on a weekend to make sure I was able to spend some quality time with the owls. We found a cafe called Lucky Owl Cafe in Dotonbori, not as far out of the city centre as the last cafe we tried to visit. And it was a hoot of a time!

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We visited on a weekend which meant we were unable to hold the owls, that is only an option during the week when there are not as many visitors. But we were able to touch most of the owls – each type of owl had a different colour code which told you if you could pet them and where you could touch them. The main point of contact was the head, making sure to be careful not to touch certain places which might stunt the growth of their horns.

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The owls were so timid that you could even put your face next to the owls face and not have to worry about losing an eye! In fact the staff encouraged you to put your face next to theirs… personally this was a little too close for comfort for me.

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There were about 9 owls in total when we visited, including a new addition to the cafe who wasn’t ready to have human contact and a mother and baby owl. It was interesting to see the difference between the full grown mother owl and her baby. There wasn’t much difference in size, despite the baby only being a few months old. The main difference was in the feathers – the older owl had nice smooth feathers whereas the baby owl had fluffy feathers and looked like it just had been through a dryer.

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The cafe cost 1100 yen for an hour with the owls and one drink, mainly tea, coffee or juice. The managers spoke English and gave us plenty of info on the different owls, where they were from, how old they were and so on.

It’s definitely an experience that I would recommend if you are in Japan. Try and visit on a weekday, other than Monday, for your chance to get up closer and hold the owls. You can find some of the locations on Google by searching ‘owl cafes Osaka’ or calling Lucky Owl on 06-6214-2348. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

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