A unique animal cafe experience with cats and capybaras!
Tokyo is well known for its animal cafes, which rose to popularity in the mid-2000s. Many speculate that this is due to the difficulties of owning pets in dense urban neighborhoods and arose as a sort of communal experience where people could still enjoy the companionship of animals. Nowadays, they are extremely popular amongst tourists and locals alike. Although some cafes get a bad reputation (and rightfully so!), others have animals that greatly enjoy social interaction with humans and are treated with the respect and care they deserve.
Why Choose the Capyneko Cafe?
As animal lovers who cannot own pets and frequent visitors to cat cafes around the world, we knew we wanted to visit one of these famous animal cafes. However, when visiting we wanted to ensure we found somewhere with animals that are social and treated well. After a TON of research, we found the new “Capyneko” cafe. This small cafe is home to cats and a capybara! It is located in Kichijoji, one of Tokyo’s most desirable neighborhoods, but it is lesser known among tourists. We thought this would be perfect for a quieter experience where the animals don’t get overstimulated!
The Capyneko cafe also had great reviews! Then after reading about the friendly and social temperament of Capybaras, a large rodent originating in South America, we knew this was going to be our pick!
So, what is a capybara?
Capybaras are the largest rodent in the world! They are a common animal native to South America. They are also semi-aquatic, meaning they are well-adapted to life near bodies of water like rivers, lakes, and ponds! (If you visit, be sure to check out their cool partially webbed feet!) They are also highly social animals and often live in groups of 10-20 animals. In some parts of South America, they are even hunted for meat and eaten. They are considered exotic but can make good pets because of their high sociability, gentle demeanor with humans and other animals, ease of care, and their adaptability in domestic settings.
To limit the number of daily visitors to the Capyneko Cafe, you need to make a reservation! You can do this on their website. There you will also be able to read through the cafe’s tips and regulations for interacting with their animals. It is a bit transactional, but they want to ensure the health and safety of their pets!
As we mentioned, the Capyneko cafe is located in Kichijoji, a desirable neighborhood a short train ride from the heart of Tokyo! The closest station to the Capyneko cafe is Kichijoji station. How you will get there will depend on where your accommodations are located in Tokyo. But you can reach Kichijoji station easily by the JR Sobu and Chuo lines, as well as the Keio-Inokashira Line.
There you can find the Capyneko cafe only a one-minute walk from the South Exit of Kichojoji Station! Some foreigners have trouble finding small businesses in Japan, as many are located in multi-story buildings. To find the Capyneko cafe, you will want to find the signs on the building on the street level. Then you should head into the building and take the elevator to the 2nd floor. Their signs are easy to spot, as they feature a kawaii capybara!
The Full Capyneko Experience!
After finding the cafe, you will be greeted at a small desk. There we were able to use our credit cards to pay the ¥2200 per person fee. You may be able to use your travel cards too! This fee includes everything you need for this 50-minute experience. Time with the animals, a locker to store your belongings, rental slippers (the norm in Japan!), a drink for yourself, and some treats for the animals!
Preparing to meet the animals:
After checking in with the front desk, they will hand you a set of keys and ask you to store your street shoes and other bulky belongings in their provided lockers. We thought this was a nice touch! Then you will also be asked to wash and sanitize your hands, to ensure the health of their animals. Fro there, you enter a small, intimate room where you will get to spend time with a bunch of cute cats and a capybara!
Time with cats and capybaras!:
We spent the first few minutes of the experience alone with the animals before one more customer and their child arrived. Those first moments we were in shock! We couldn’t believe we were getting to spend time with and *actually* touch a capybara – whose fur was much more coarse than we expected!
The cats and the capybara seemed happy, friendly, and well taken care of – thus the reason we are recommending this spot. Admittedly, they were a bit aloof and more interested in food than anything though! Luckily the staff came around with a small amount of treats for you to give the animals. Feeding them was so cute!
What about the cafe?
I wouldn’t really call this place a proper cafe. They did not have any sort of restaurant style seating. There was no cafe with a kitchen or a menu for you to choose items from. There was not even fresh coffee! However, they did have a few bottled beverages you could choose from in a small case in the room. We thought this was ok because you probably aren’t visiting for the drinks anyways. Their focus is on bring you a great animal experience!
Make a day out of it!
If you have already traveled all the way to Kichijoji, be sure to check out the neighborhood. There you can explore the lovely Inokashira Park – which is also home to the Ghibli Museum. There are also great local restaurants you can try out. We visited Garage 50, which is known for being one of the best pizza places in Tokyo. There we were pleased to find great pizza combined with the local flavors and ingredients – it made for some interesting combinations and unique flavors to try! Kichijoji is also known for its shopping arcades, which we did not spend a ton of time in, but there were many cool local shops!
Is the Capyneko Cafe worth visiting?!
Yes! It was the perfect spot for a relaxed animal cafe experience in Japan. The animals seemed happy and loved, the neighborhood was charming, and when the heck else will you get to meet a capybara?!
Want to learn more about the Capyneko Cafe and Kichijoji?
We visited the Capyneko Cafe and Kichijoji back in October 2022 and made an entire video guide to this cute Capybara and Cat Cafe. As well as a few of the activities in Kichijoji! Check it out!
Thanks for reading! Would you visit the Capyneko Cafe?