For better or for worse, lax animal welfare laws in Japan have led to an abundance of pet cafes which probably wouldn’t fly in some other countries. For this reason, animal cafes such as cat cafes, rabbit cafes and owl cafes have become high priority destinations for visitors to Japan, as an experience they can't get back home.

In order to stand out, some cafes have taken on cool themes so you can enjoy watching the animals play in various settings. Recently there was a temporary cat cafe modelled on the Edo period. In Shibuya there’s a hedgehog cafe called Chikuchiku Cafe which has taken on the theme of dollhouses.

The cafe houses ten themed dollhouses, with styles such as classroom and bedroom. The dollhouses have a charming aesthetic designed by professional dollhouse maker Akiko Tanimoto, and they have plans to update their lineup with various themes as time goes on.

For those who worry about the welfare of animals in these sort of businesses, Chikuchiku Cafe has taken some steps to assure the wellbeing of the hedgehogs. The cafe is open from noon so the animals can catch up on sleep, and children under six-years-old are not allowed to touch the hedgehogs. Children under 12-years-old are not allowed in the cafe without an adult guardian, and according to PR Times, the cafe's staff have abundant experience with hedgehog care and supervise feeding, touching, and pictures taken of the hedgehogs. A larger caged area takes pride of place in the centre of the cafe to ensure the creatures get plenty of exercise.

But as it is well known, hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, so they are much more active in the evening. Previously the cafe closed at 8pm, meaning customers missed out on the hedgehogs’ most entertaining time. For that reason, Chikuchiku cafe are starting a ‘hedgehog bar’, open from 7pm to 10pm every Thursday and Friday (from October 18th 2018). A one hour stay in the bar costs 2800 yen and includes two alcoholic drinks (so don’t worry, no one will be getting legless and endangering the hedgehogs). All you can drink soft drinks are also included in the price.

In honour of the new bar, the hedgehogs have got a brand new dollhouse to play in, one made up to look like a tiny bar.

Read more about the Chikuchiku Cafe here.

Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Shibuya 1-13-5 Daikyo Shibuya Building 2F (nearest station: Shibuya)

Chikuchiku Cafe Website

By - Jess.